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Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. 
the Royal Economic Society. London, etc. 
Professor of Economics and Principal, Rajaram College, 
Kolhapur, India 

Part IV 
Shivaji, The Man and His .Work 



the Author 

Published by 
The Anther 

A Note on the Author 

Dr. Balkrisbna came of a Ksbatriya family of Multan, in the 
Punjab* Born in 1882, be spent bis boyhood in struggles against 
mediocrity. For after completing bis primary education he was 
first apprenticed to a jewel-threader and then to a tailor. It appeared 
as if he would settle down as a tailor when by a fortunate turn of 
events he found himself in a Middle Vernacular School. He gave 
the first sign of talents by standing first in the Vernacular Final 
^Examination. Then he joined the Multan High School and passed 
en to the D. A. V. College, Lahore, from where he took his B. A* 
degree. Then be joined the Government College, Lahore, and 
passed bis M. A. with high distinction. 

During the last part of bis College career, be came under the 
influence of some great Indian political leaders, especially of Lala 
Lajpatrai, Sardar Ajitsingh and the Honourable Gopal Krishna 
Gokhale, and in 1908-9 took an active part in politics. But soon 
after he was drawn more powerfully to the Arya Samaj. 

His high place in the M. A. examination would have helped 
him to a promising career under the Government, but he chose 
differently. He joined Lala Munshiram ( later Swami Shraddha- 
Btnd ) *s a worker in the Guruk.ul, Kangri. Here he spent over 
ten years as a Professor of Economics and Politics, as Vice- 
Principal and as Principal and sometimes acted in the place of 
Swami Sbraddhanand as the Governor of the Gurukul University* 

In 1919 he went to^ England and in February 1922 was 
admitted to the Ph. D. degree of London University. While a 
student in London, he went on lecturing tours and lectured on 
Vedic Religion and Economics in London, Oxford, Manchester and 
other towns in England, Wales and Scotland. The same year he 
returned to India and in May was appointed Principal of Rajaram 
College, Kolhapur. He worked in that capacity till his death on 

2 1st October, 1940. His term of Office was distinguished 


by the phenomenal growth of the institution. In 1922 it was 
an Arts College with only 293 pupils on the roll ; at the time of 
his death it was a full-fledged Arts and Science College, teaching- 
post-graduate courses in many subjects, with 920 pupils on its roll* 
He was also instrumental in developing Kolhapur as an educational 
centre, the Law and the Teachers' Training Colleges owing their 
existence to his initiative and efforts. He also worked as Inspector 
of Secondary Education in Kolhapur from 1926 to 1936. 

He was connected with numerous learned societies. He was 
a Fellow of the Royal Economic Society, of the Royal Statistical 
Society, and of the Royal Historical Society, London; a Member 
of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay; a Member of the 
Econometric Association, U. S. A.; and a fellow of the University 
of Bombay till shortly before his death. 

He was a Member of the Historical Records Commission of 
the Government of India and the first President of Bombay 
"Presidency Teachers' Conference held at Poona in 1935 and 
President of the Modern History Section of the History Congress 
held at Allahabad in 1938. 

He also took a leading part in the public life of Kolhapur, 
From 1924 to 1933 he was President of the Kolhapur Boy Scouts* 
Association. He was a Member of the Kolhapur Municipality 
and Kolhapur Itakha Panchayat for a number of years. He was 
'President of Kolhapur Arya Samaj and of the Educational Boards 
under it. He was for several years President of the Teachers* 
"Association, Kolhapur. 

As a representative of the all-India Arya Sitnij organisation 
he attended the World Fellowship of Faiths in Chicago in 1933-5* 
and toured in U. S. A. and Europe on his way back. In U. S. A. 
he gave many lectures on Hindu Religion and Culture in the North 
.Western, Howard, New York and Columbia Universities, to the 
World Fellowship of Faiths, the Indian Association at Detroit, 
the Amstican League of India's Freedom and other todies o4 
wjts highly honoured by them and other American intttutipp6 and 


-eminent individuals. He delivered an important series of public 
lectures on political conditions of Europe after his return tp 

He was distinguished as a public speaker and lectured in 
different parts of India too. 

As an author he directed his energies to different subjects 
including Indian Religion and Culture, Economics, Politics and 
History. His monumental work, on which he devoted a large parf 
of his spare time during his 18 years at Kolhapur, is the History 
of Shivaji the Great, of about 1650 pages in four volumes, 
dedicated to the only ruling representative of the noble House of 
Shivaji the Great, His Late Highness Chhatrapati Shri Rajaram 
Maharaja of Kolhapur. He wrote and saw through print the 
concluding pages of the book during the last weeks of his illness. 
The index given at the end of the last volume was left in 
manuscript by him. It has been printed after his death. 

It was the desire of the Doctor to follow up his history of 
Shivaji by that of Rajaram, the second son of the founder of tha 
Maratha Empire. He was collecting meteriai for the purpose, 
especially from Dutch sources. 

Shortly before he left Gurukul, Kangri, his first wife had 
died, leaving him a son and three daughters. He married again in 
1925 and left five children four daughters and a son. His first 
wife belonged to the Punjab and his widow, the undersigned, 
is from Maharashtra. * 

In the publication of Shivaji the Great the author received 
valuable help and encouragement from His Late Highness 
Chhatrapati Shri Rajaram Maharaj of Kolhapur and his Govern- 
ment, from His Late Highness Shri Sayajirao Maharaja oC 
Baroda, from the late Rajasaheb of Mudhol and others, for which 
I record my sincerest gratitude. 
Radhabti Balkrithpt. 

* Dr. Balkriihna published his autobiography in Marathi in a serial form 
-in " Kirloakar Masik " Nos. 185, 186 and 187 ( Jane, July and August issues oC 
1935 ) from which details of his life t*e taken. 


Works by the late Dr. Balkriihna. 

I. On Indian Religion and Culture: 

1. Philosophy of Yajna. 

2. Veda, the Word of God. 

3. Ancient Polity. 

4. Hindu Philosophers on Evolution. 

II. On Economics: 

5. Commercial Relations between India and England. 

( Routledge, London ). 

6. The Industrial Decline in India. 

7. Economics ( Hindi ). 

8. Commercial Survey of Kolhapur. 

III. On Politics: 

9. The Indian Constitution. 

10. Demands of Democracy. 

11. Swarajya. 

,TV. On History: 

12. Shahji. ) 4 . 
Shivaji the Great.) * vols ' 

13. Shivaji Album. 

14. History of India. ( Hindi ) 

15. ( Marathi ) 

V. The following books were in preparation and some of them 
were nearing completion: 

1. Vedic Psalms. 

2. Shukraniti with notes and explanations. 

3. Hindu Economics. 

4. The State in Ancient India. 

* 5. From the Counter to the Crown. 


Foreword ... ... ... ... ... ... . 

Contents ... 

Personality of Shivaji ... ... ... ... ... ... l 

European envoys. Personal description. Portraits of Shivaji. Spartaa 
simplicity. Freedom from drinks. Respeci for women. Religious devotion. 
Shivaji a mystic. Shivaji a fatalist. Shivaji a diplomat. Unique as 
a constructive statesman. Shivaji as a commander. Shivaji and Napoleon. 
An extraordinary resourcefulness. The character of Shivaji. The Lion of 
Maharashtra , 

Shivaji a Robber ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 15 

European view. Plunder after an ultimatum. Rules re, Plunder. The 
regulations regarding expeditions, Plunder justified. System of Chautb. 
Why black-mail necessary ? Shivaji and Mahmud. Shivaji and Changes 
Khan. Shivaji and Timur. Shivaji and Nadir shah. 


The Grand Rebel or Liberator ...... ... ... ... ... 23 

Misconception of European settlers. The mortal fear of the Marathas. 
Hindvi Swaraj or the ideal of Indian independence. 


Shivaji, Prince of Perfidy ... ... ... ... ... ... 30 

A prince of perfidy. Statement of the case. Life and death struggle. 
Treschery-the most common means of murders. Evidence of the Khan's 
treachery. Khan's anxiety to have the interview. The Khan was the first 
to strike the blow. 

Civil Administration ... ... ... ... ... ... 4O 

Extent of Shivaji's Empire. Administrative divisions. Civil divisions. 
CivH officers. Dr. Fryer on Maratba Administration. Administrative reforms 
of Sbivaji. No new Inams. Growth of the Executive Council. Duties of 
the Ministers.Principles underlying ministerial government. The salaries 
of the Ministers. The personal staff of the king. Minor Departments. 
Comparison of the Astha Pradhans to the Executive Council. 



The Military System ... 61 

Evils of the Muslim military system, Royal Bodyguards. State 
Cavalry and Militta. Training of the Cavalry. The Infantry. Strength of 
the army. The relative strength of the cavalry and infantry. The excellence 
of bis cavalry. Training of the army. Army regulations. Spies and 
scouts. Rewards ior military service. Feudal forces. Arms and Weapons. 
The camel corps and elephant corps. Military reforms. Shivaji, a man of 
forts. Classical names of forts. Number of forts. Fortifications and 
repairs. High wages to workmen. Internal organization in a fort. Pay of 
officers Guards for outskirts. Regular inspection of forts. Repair of 
forts. Vestiges of old forts. Architecture. Importance of the navy. Types 
of ships. The reasons tor the small craft. Organization of the marine. 
Naval strength. The merchant fleet of Shivaji. Shivaji's naval exploits. 
Shivajrs naval achievements. Supply from the Europeans. Ordnance 
manufactured in state-factories. 

The Financial System ... ... ... ... ... ... 107 

Introductory remarks. Three settlements. Settlement by the people. 
Method of survey. A new measuring rod for survey. Introduction of the 
Kayatwari system. Classification of lands. Basis of Assessment. 
Prevalence of the farming system. Watans. The agrarian reforms of 
Shivaji, Heads cf income. The Customs. Transit duty. Excise Duties. 
Judicial fees. Forest revenue, The profits of mintage. The sale of offices. 
The presents. Contributions and tributes by states. Booty in war. 
4 Plunder and ransom. Escheat. Forfeitures of Watans. Piracy and 
deliberate capture of ships. Shipwrecks. Treasure-trove, fisheries and 
mines. Monopolies. Maritime trade. Origin of Chauth, Nature of 
Chauth* Wrong notions regarding Chauth. Economic collapse of the 
Mogul Empire, Sardeshmukh a hereditary office. Sardeshmukhs in 
Maharashtra. Sardeshmukh i a cess. Concluding remarks. Cesses or 
Abwabs. Imperial income. Town levies. The rural cesses. The Balutas. 
Concluding remarks. 

The Monetary Policy ... ... ... ... ... ... 146 

The Laitsez-Faire policy. Shivaji mints money. Variety of Coins, 
Names of Hons. Prices of Hois. The silver coins. The copper coins. 
The Bombay Mint. The Hoarded Treasures of Shivaji. 



The Judicial System ... ... ... ... ... ... 155 

The traditional Hindu system. Changes daring the Muslim period. 
The Panchayats. The Deshak Sabha. The Brahman Sabha. The Raj 
Sabba. Chief Justice and Panditrao, Municipal autonomy. Enforcement 
of decisions. Ordeals from ancient times. Ordeals in Maharashtra. 
Basic principles. 

The Religious Policy ... ... ... ... ... ... 169 

Shive incarnated for the protection of Hindu religion, Muslim 
persecution of the Hindus, Lament of the saints. Shiva ji's policy of 
religious equality. Shivaji's protest against Aurangzeb's fanaticism. 
Islam patronized by Shivaji. Employment of Muslims. Reclamation or 
Shnddhi. The Hindus, a nation. 

Renaissance and Reformation ... ... ... ... ... 182 

Spread of mysticism under the Yadavas. Results of religious persecu- 
tion. Political conditions favourable to recrudescence of religious thought. 
The Renaissance. The Reformation. The revival of old cults. Saint 
Ekanatha, The immortal Tukaram. Disciples of Tukaram. Contemporaries 
of Tukaram. The Naked Messiah of Maharashtra. The work of the 
Messiah. Women Saints. Muslim Saints. Personal contact with saints. 
Encouragement of Sanskrit. Shivaji supplied the urge to reformation. The 
contribution of saints to Swaraj. Reformation begun in the 17th century. 

The Causes and Consequences of Shivaji's Success ... ... 199 

Causes given by Ranade. The invincible Deccan, The dominance of 
the Hindu element. Other causes. Misgovernment in the Bijapur kingdom. 
Venality of officers, Shivaji's conquest of the sea-ports. Guerilla tactics, 
Marathas were winged men. Shivaji not less than Alexander or Hannibal. 
Shivaji had an airy body. Survey of conquests. A silent revolution. 
Open Rebellion. Defensive and offensive wars. Conquests by the uncrowned 
king. Conquest and consolidation. The extraordinary personality of 
"Shivaji. Shivaji's achievements. 
Index 216-224 

The Man and His Work 

Personality of Shivaji 

1. European envoys Several distinguished Europeans had 
interviews with Shivaji, but they were too much engrossed in 
their immediate concerns. Though they had golden opportunities 
of talking with Shivaji and closely observing him, yet they did not 
leave any detailed account of his personality. Stephen Ustick 
went as an ambassador of the English from Bombay, in 1672, 
Thomas Niccolls in 1673, II. Oxenden in 1674, Samuell Austin, 
R. Jones and Edw. Austen in 1675, Lieut. Adames and Mr. 
Mauleverer in 1676, and John Child in 1678. Each of these envoys 
had interviews with the Raja. Similarly, the chief of the Dutch 
Factory at Teganapatam carried rich presents to Shivaji in a 
pompous procession and secured an interview with him in July 1677. 
The French envoy Sieur Germain from Pondichery visited the 
Raja on the bank of the Coleroon river in the same month. It is a 
pity that no sketch of his person is available from these envoys. 1 

2. Personal description Shivaji is described by Escaliot on 
the evidence of those who had seen him, to be of medium stature 
and of excellent proportion. He was active in exercise, possessed 
quick and piercing eyes, and was whiter than any of his people* 
He seemed to smile whenever he spoke. 9 

His was a light weight of 140 Ibs English or at most 160 Ibs 
Dutch at the time of his coronation in June 1674 at the age of 
44 years. 3 

According to Thevenot, Shivaji was small in stature and tawny 
in complexion. " His eyes are very sharp and fiery, showing a 
great deal of intelligence. He usually takes one meal a day, and 
is quite healthy.*' 

1-3. Shivaji Vol. I, Pp. 212, 229, 407, 411-25 ; II, Pp. 14. 33, 57, 59, 67. 
74, 91, 96, 106-7. 

One Dutch envoy Abraham Lefeper visited Sh. at Rairi in 1672, 
Vol. I, p, 305. 


Father P. J. d'Orleans describes him as 'a little lively, 
restless man, but with all his impatience he wanted neither decision 
nor manly bearing.' 

Cosmo Da Guarda has fully confirmed the preceding remarks. 
4t He was not only quick in action but lively in carriage also, for 
with a clear and fair face, nature had given him the greatest 
perfections, specially the dark big eyes were so lively that they 
seemed to dart rays of fire. To these was added a quick, clear and 
acute intelligence." 8 

3. Portraits of Shivaji > We can form our own ideas on the 
physique and personality of Shivaji from the several paintings 
reproduced in these volumes. Manucci had the fullest opportunity 
to see Shivaji and talk to him in Raja Jaisingh's camp. The 
picture of Shivaji drawn for him by Pir Muhammad before 1688 
should be the most reliable. The one from the Jaipur collection 
might be contemporary and would have been drawn by order of 
Raja Jaisingh. It has similarity of dress and features with the 
painting obtained in the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay, but 
the latter has a dark coloured "face which is incorrect on all the 
evidence produced in the preceding section. In this picture Shivaji 
is represented in the court dress, while the Jaipur one depicts him 
in a homely atmosphere. 

The portrait from the British Museum and its reproduction 
given in Orme's Fragments are also contemporary and true to life* 

The portrait given in Bernier's Travels is a copy of the one in 
Valentyn's Oud-en Nieuvo Cost-Indian ( 1724 A. D. ). The latter 
was obtained at the Mogul court in 1712. They all show hint 
possessing a black beard and moustache, long hair at sides, a 
flowered chint toga with white ground, a purple silk scarf rich in 
gold embroidery thrown across the left shoulder, a beautifully worked 
sash, a Muslim paijama and a stylish pair of embroidered shoes. 
-The gold pagri or turban with a jewelled aigrette, black plume* 

1. English Records, Vol. II, p. 334. 

2. S r N. Sen, Foreign Biographies of Shivaji, pp. 2 , 3. 


and white pearls is peculiar to Shivaji. He can be easily identified 
by the shape of his turban. He is holding a very long straight 
sword, probably the well-known Bhavani in his left hand, and 
a patta or rapier in his right hand. Then on the left *ide a 
dagger is sticking out from the waist. One can easily mark out 
sharp eyes, a long aquiline nose, a neat and trimly cut beard, and 
small moustaches covering his upper lip. His face is fair, firm, 
and awe-inspiring. 

" We could descry ability and cunning, and the hardihood 
and daring of a conspirator against the rights of man one not 
easily cowed or alarmed, \\ith a strong faith in himself, and a gift 
to measure his own capacities, and those of the men who were to- 
be his helpers in his career of aggrandisement. \Vell worth looking 
at this man among men; sash across his breast, himself a Star of 
India, baleful enough, kingly cowl with its tassel of pearls and 
feathers. No need of a tiara of the diamonds of Golconda for this 
man, for his eagle eye ( on which all contemporaries are as much 
agreed as on the eye of Burns ) outshines them all." 1 

4. Spartan simplicity was the most distinguishing feature of 
Shivaji's life. He cheerfully bore hardships by living in an 
unostentatious manner with his soldiers. His principles were rigid 
to an extreme degree. His army was not burdened with families of 
--officers and soldiers ; no dancing girls or women, no drinking booths, 
no wine and other intoxicants were allowed in the camps. In all 
flying expeditions wherein some town was to be surprised, rapidity 
of movement was achieved by having no equipage and commissariat 
department. In the Surat expedition of 1664 we find Shivaji sitting 
under a tree without any tent. Even in the Karnatic expedition we 
are told that there were two tents, one for himself and another for 
his ministers. 

In his dress and meals he was abstemious to an extraordinary 
degree. He contented himself with only one meal a day. Thus he 
avoided -all the Epicurean ways of life which enslaved many princes 
in every country; 

1. J. Dong bias. The Book of Bombay. or> 424-25. 


5. Freedom from drinks He led a very austere, stern and 
sober life. Non-indulgence in drinks and other intoxicants was 
religiously observed by him. The ancient conquerors like Alexander 
and Caesar were addicted to hard drinking, even Napoleon was not 
free from this vice. The Mogul emperors from Baber to Slmh Jahan 
were a prey to excessive drinks and narcotics. But here was a man 
far above the best generals of the ancient and contemporary world in 
this respect. He led the life of a saint, and abhorred dissipation of 
his energy in the pleasures of the flesh. The appreciative note of 
Montgomery Martin is worthy of record here : "Impartial judges 
admit that Sevajee possessed qualities which, in an unenlightened 
Hindoo, may be termed admirable. Prepared for every emergency, 
peril could not daunt, nor success intoxicate him. Frugal even to 
parsimony in his habits, courteous and endearing in manner, 
though passionate in disposition, he continued to the last to move 
freely about among the people, inspiring them with his own spirit 
of determined opposition to the Mahomedans. Intent on following 
every turn and winding of Aurangzeb's snake like policy, he also 
practised treacherous wiles ; but the use of these unworthy weapons* 
did not detract him from his personal courage. To have seen him 
charge, was the favourite boast of the troops engaged in the Deccani 
wars ; and his famous sword was preserved and regarded with 
nothing short of idolatrous veneration. 1 

6. Respect for women While the Mogul Emperors like Akbar* 
Jahangir and Shah Jahan indulged in sexual excesses and loved Mina 
Bazars, Shivaji showed an unusual control of his passions. Though 
he married several wives for political purposes, he led a pure and 
noble family life. Even in his youth he refused to accept the hand of 
the captive beauty of Kalyan. He did not allow women in his military 
camps and even punished his own son Sambhaji for transgressing 
moral bounds. A high standard of sexual morality was set before 
his officers, generals, soldiers and the people. Chivalry was 
always shown to the weaker sex. Women were not to be killed 
fior made captives of waf . Whenever they fell into the hands of 

1. R. Montgomery Martin, The Indian Empire, Vol. I, p, 149. 


his army, they were treated with respect and honourably kept in 
custody till they were ransomed by their relatives. People took 
advantage of the rule of not capturing women by escaping m female 
dress as was done during the Karanja loot. J 

The Rai Bagin, one lady general of the Mogul forces, fought 
against Shivaji like a tigress, but was ultimately defeated and 
captured. She was, however, released with all honour due to her 
rank. 3 Similarly, in the Karnatic campaign when the Desain of 
Belvadi after submission was ill-treated by one of his officers, 
Shivaji had the latter blinded and interned. 3 Thus in entertaining 
high ideas regarding women of all sects and religions, he was far 
above the contemporary princes. 

7. Religions devotion A robber and a monster could not be 
religiously austere. There are numerous evidences of his deep 
devotional mind, superstitious awe of gods, genuine respect for 
saints, and a deep faith m the greatness of the classical epics. His 
mother was responsible for inspiring the young mind with religious 
ideals, for creating a love for Hindu classics and for sermons of 
the saints. 

We are told stories of his attendance at Tukaram's sermons at 

the risk of his life, of renunciation of the world after hearing a 

discourse of Tukaram, of self-hypnotization which made him his 

own oracle, of dedicating his life to the service of the god at Shri 

"Shaila andofhis resolve of committing suicide there. 

He built new temples, repaired old ones, established new gods 
and goddesses in them, donated large sums for their expenses, made 
pilgrimage to famous shrines, and revered the holy men of all 
religions-Hindu, Muslim and Christian. 

In his expedition to Barcelore, he made it a point to visit 

Gokurn. In the Karnatic expedition many old shrines and sacred 

places were visited by him. Even while his life was in danger and 

*he was pursued by Aurangzeb's soldiers and spies, he did not lose 

1*3. ShiTEJt Vol. I, pp. 283, 333 , Vol. II* 24. 


the opportunity of visiting the famous holy places of the Hindus- 
from Muttra to Jagannathpuri. Before his coronation, he is said 
to have gone on a pilgrimage to Chiplun and Pratapgarh, and to be- 
engaged m worshipping the deities and in performing other 
devotional ceremonies for several days in succession. 

His chanties to the Bhawani of Pratapgarh, to the famous- 
Math of Ramdas at Chafal, to the Math of Mauni Baba at Patgaon,. 
to the most sacred shrine of Shn Shaila, to Keshav Swami of 
Hyderabad, and to the Konheri Math are a few instances of the 
vast donations given by him for revival and development of the 
Hindu religion. He was consequently conferred the title of " the 
Protector of cows and Brahmans" which he richly deserves. 

For the preservation and development of religion he created a 
new department under a new minister called Panditrao, while for 
his family guidance he had distinguished scholars like Balam Bhat. 
There is an order of the Minister Panditrao Moreshwar dated 
19 Feb. 1677 to the Deshmukh to give maintenance allowance to 
all the Brahmans of the districts of Phonda, Dicholi, Mandangad 
and Bhivgad whether they belonged to Desha or Karad, Chitpawans, 
Padye Brahmans and Jyotishis after holding an examination to 
test their learning. 

At the time of his coronation twenty-thousand Brahmans were 
present at Raigad. All of them were fed for several days and 
finally were presented gifts. Therefore he was rightly called the 
" Protector of Brahmans." 

His devotion to saints and seers will be shown later on. It 
will suffice to remark here that he was the cause of renaissance and 
reformation in the Hindu religion and Hindu society. 

8. Shivaji a mystic Howsoever paradoxical it might appear, 
it is true that Shiva was a great mystic. In his early career he is~ 
said to have taken the resolve to renounce the world after hearing 
the sermon of saint Tukaram on renunciation. His mother -and 
friends could not dissuade, him from his intention to become a 


Tecluse. However, the advice of the saint and the entreaties of the 
mother induced the youth to give up his resolve. At the end of his 
-career on the march to Madras he visited the magnificent temple of 
Shri Shaila. There in a fit of devotion and ecstasy he was ready to 
dmmolate himself on the altar of the god ( Vol. II, p. 233 ). The 
Bakhars record that he used to get hypnotic fits wherein he sought 
the advice of his guardian goddess Bhawani. The words spoken by 
him during these ecstatic fits were written down by his private 
secretary Balaji Avaji. In times of crises he used to follow this 
advice. On many critical occasions such as the invasions of Afzal 
Khan, Shaista Khan, Jaisingh, or even during his imprisonment at 
Agra, Shivaji had trances to find out the solution of his difficulties 
through these intuitions. 

It is possible that Shivaji might have been dissimulating to 
impress his colleagues and subjects with the idea that he was in 
communion with God whose will was being carried out through his 
instrumentality. The people came to believe that he was the chosen 
medium of God, His effective instrument to destroy the Mlechhas. 
The general impression of his devotions and trances, of his being a 
favourite medium of God if not His incarnation, won him the 
veneration of all his officers and subjects. They began to look upon 
^hini as a superman, as a favourite of fortune, a man of destiny who 
had been born to avenge and restore Hinduism. 

9. Shivaji a fatalist His frequent appeal to God proves him 
to be a fatalist. He blindly followed the advice obtained in the fits 
of trance. For instance, he gave up himself and his forts to Jaisingh 
at the dictates of the so-called divine Bhavani. He went to Agra 
-after he had been given an assurance in an ecstatic fit by this 
protecting goddess. It is stated that his intellect was clouded and he 
was highly dejected during his imprisonment at Agra, but the 
goddess again came to his rescue. Thus he has been shown to be 
working under the spell of a supernatural power by the writers of 
theMarathi chronicles. This version placeshim under the supremacy 
-of a controlling power outside himself. A great conqueror like Shiva 
was a master and not a slave of destiny. There is no mention in 


these Bhakars that he ever consulted astrologers on what he should' 
do and should not do. On the other hand, there is European evidence 
tha he was always cautious to studiously conceal his plans. Here is 
the impartial testimony of Jonathan Scott. "He planned his schemes- 
wisely and executed them with steadiness. He consulted many on 
every point but acted according to that advice, which after weighing 
in his own mind he thought best applicable to his designs. No one 
was ever acquainted with his determinations but by the success of 
their execution." 

A remarkable confirmation comes from the pen of the historian 
Scott Waring: " His talent as a soldier places him above the 
heroes of the East. His schemes comprehended the option of more 
than one success ; nor did the accomplishment of his object discover 
the extent of its advantage, until developed by subsequent 
acquisitions. His personal activity was astonishing ; no route, 
however, but had been traversed by his indefatigable patience. His 
troops, led by himself by the nearest and most secret paths, hardly 
knew the object of their attack, until they beheld the enemy they 
were to defeat, or the city they were to pillage. His passions were 
at his command; and he never betrayed, either by word or gesture^ 
the movements of his mind. No emergency, however sudden, 
found him without recourse; no danger, however imminent appalled 
a mind accustomed to the greatest trials." Such a master-mind 
could not be a slave of fate or destiny. He was indeed a favourite 
child of destiny upon whom she invariably showered successes in 
all his adventures. 

10. Shivftji a diplomat His diplomacy shines forth brilliantly 
at the early age of eighteen when through Mogul intercession 
he succeeded in securing the release of his father from the living 
coffin raised by the Bijapur king to smother him. Shiva and his 
men outwitted the Mores, and captured Javli. He took fullest 
advantage of the death of the Bijapur king and the absence of 
Aurangzeb from the Deccan by allying himself with the Moguls 
against Bijapur and thereby winning their friendship. This step 
resulted in the invasion of Afzal Khan who was outrivalled in 

S. 1. 


diplomacy and treacherous wiles by Shivaji. This 'mountain rat' 
was, through his superb genius, able to surprise the giant-like 
Shaista Khan in his bed, thoroughly rape Surat, sear the beard of 
wily Aurangzeb in his own capital by making a miraculous escape 
from Agra, tear off the veil of invincibility of the Mogul Empire, 
and finally eat away its vitals to such an extent that it was left a 
Jhollow carcass. 

His diplomacy reaches its climax in coming to terms with the 
Hindu Raja Jaisingh whom he wanted to win over to his cause and 
in wreaking his vengeance upon Bijapur which had stabbed Shivaji 
in the back by invading the Konkon. But he did not assist the 
Moguls to such an extent as to really weaken Bijapur and thus 
permit it to become a morsel to the Moguls. He showed his mailed 
fist in a velvet glove to the ruler of Bijapur and entered into a, 
secret alliance with him against the invaders. 

After his release from Agra, he consolidated his kingdom and 
strengthened his forces with such rapidity that he was able to 
forcibly retake all the forts which he had been compelled to cede to- 
the Moguls. Through his unrivalled diplomacy he maintained a 
successful struggle against the mightiest empire of the world, and 
hardly suffered a defeat from the greatest generals of the Mogul 

In 1675 Shivaji coaxed Bahadur Khan for a truce, but after a 
few months when his object of conquering parts of the Konkon from 
Bijapuris had been realized, he summarily insulted the Mogul 
commander and the Emperor by rejecting the terms of the treaty. 

Soon after he again succeeded in making a truce with the- 
Moguls and an alliance with Kutub Shah to conquer the Karnatic. 
His triumph in annexing the defunct Vijayanagar empire up to- 
Rameshwaram to his kingdom and freeing his younger brother from 
the suzerainty of Bijapur, sheds glory on his statemanship. At thfr 
cod of bis career he was trying to capture Bijapur itself and in 
saving it from being absorbed by the Moguls. It was his incomparable 
statesmanship which was ever vigilant against the conquest of the 
kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda by the Moguls. Through his- 


displomacy he secured financial help from these states for his wars 
against the Mogul armies. We must not lose sight of the fact that 
he maintained friendly relations with all the four European nations 
with whom he came into contact. Yet he defended his shipping, 
trade, port towns and his people from their onslaughts. The 
Portuguese, the English, the Dutch and the French were, as far as 
possible, well treated by Shivaji. He also tried to maintain a 
balance of power among them. For instance, he did not help the 
Dutch in capturing Bombay or Goa. 

11. He was unique as a constructive statesman His organizing 
ability is manifest from the very start, since orderly administration 
went hand in hand with expansion. He took 20,000 Brahrnans 
with him on his Karnatic expedition to organize and consolidate the 
newly conquered districts. The contemporary European writers 
have borne testimony to the remarkable skill shown by Shivaji in 
introducing improved methods of administration in the south. The 
Moslem administration was oppressive on account of the employment 
of illiterate, mercenary and foreign adventurers who were working 
as officers. He did away with all foreigners and uneducated people, 
but appointed only educated men as officers. He took effective 
steps to check peculation and corruption, and thus raised the 
standard of administration to such a high pitch that his subjects 
were contented, peaceful and prosperous. 

Whatever fort or territory fell into the hands of Shivaji, was 
immediately so strengthened and organized, that it could scarcely 
be recovered by his enemies. Very few instances can be quoted of 
the reconquest of forts by the Mogul or Adilshahi forces. This 
fact alone speaks volumes of his organising capacity, vigilant 
administration, and faithful devotion of his people. 

12. Shivaji as a commander Shivaji stands foremost in the 
rank of the great commanders of the world. During the political 
career of 35 years from 1645 to 1680 there was no commander 
Hindu or Muslim of the Bijapur kingdom or of the most powerful 
and prosperous Empire of the Moguls who did not ultimately suffer 
defeat from Shivaji. Princes of the royal blood, Persians, premiers, 
Pathans and Rajput rulers like Jaswant Singh Rathor were all 


Helpless against the resources of the Maratha commander. Shivaji 
stands foremost as an individual warrior, as an organizer and leader 
of armed forces. He possesses the highest military qualities of 
chivalrous courage, vigilant precaution and abundant resourcefulness* 
He took the fullest advantage of his victories and struck effective 
blows where they were most unexpected. He was always prompt 
in taking advantage of the enemy's vacillation, and in falling upon 
him unawares. He was inaster in the art of diplomacy. No- 
politician, statesman or general of his time can stand comparison 
to him in this sphere. 

He never shirked from entering upon desperate attempts with 
utmost vigour and courage. He risked his life in a duel with Afzal 
Khan, in his remarkable exploit against Shaista Khau, or in 
visiting Surat and Prince Muazzam in disguise, and especially in 
placing himself in the wily clutches of Aurangzeb. 

Alexander and Frederick had the fortune to inherit armies- 
trained by their fathers, and most of their distinguished generals had 
served in the army before their times. Here was an adventurer 
who had himself to create an army and train commanders in the 
shortest possible time. Scholars, clerks, peasants, rustics, wild 
tribes, in fact, men of all classes and grades of society were 
recruited in the army. We see the wonderful phenomenon of the 
creation of an army which inflicted defeats upon the Muslim warriors 
of the Deccan, the veteran forces of the Moguls, and the unflinching 
Jknights of the Rajput Princes. His claim to greatness lies in training 
hundreds of commanders and infusing an indomitable military spirit 
among the masses, so that after his death they could successfully 
fight a war of independence against the greatest power on earth in 
those days. They were all animated with religious fervour, courage,, 
patriotism, discipline, self-confidence and hope of success-remarkable 
qualities inherited from this great leader of men. 

Contemporary Englishmen compared him with Alexander, 
Hannibal, Caesar. The Portuguese confirmed the same view. The 
Hindus compared him with their greatest heroes like Parashuram, 
llama, Krishna, Bhima, Balaram, etc. 


The distinguished historian Orme has paid a great tribute to 
Shivaji. " Shivaji possessed all the qualities of a commander. He 
spared no cost to obtain intelligence of all motions and intentions 
of his enemies and even of their minuter imports. In personal 
activities he exceeded all the generals of whom there is record. No 
general ever traversed as much ground as he, at the head of armies. 
He met every emergency of peril howsoever sudden and extreme 
with instant discernment and unshaken fortitude. The ablest of 
his officers acquiesced to the imminent superiority of his genius, 
and the boast of the soldier was to have seen Shivaji charging, , 
sword in hand." ! 

General Sullivan's remarks deserve notice. " He possessed 
every quality requisite for success in the disturbed age in which 
he lived ; cautious and wily m council, he was fierce and daring in 
action ; he possessed an endurance that made him remarkable even 
amongst his hardy subjects, and an energy and decision that would 
in any age have raised him to distinctions. By his own people he 
was painted on a white horse going at full gallop, tossing grains of 
rice into his mouth, to signify that his speed did not allow him to 
stop to eat. He was the Hindu prince who forced the heavy Mogul 
cavalry to fly before the charge of the native horse of India ; his 
strength and activity in action were the glory and admiration of 
his race. 9 

The appreciation of J. Scott is worth reading. " Sewajee was, 
as a soldier unequalled, skilled in the art of government and a 
friend to men of virtue and ' religion. He planned his schemes 
wisely and executed them with steadiness. He consulted many on 
every point but acted according to that advice which after weighing 
in his own mind he thought best applicable to his designs. No one 
was ever acquainted with his determinations but by the success of 
their executions." 3 

13. Shivaji and Napoleon-*- Napoleon ' was indeed a great 
military genius, a unique general and administrator. But we must 

1. Orme, Historical Fragments, pp. 93-94. 

2. Sir E. Sullivan, Warriors and Statesmen of India, p. 384. 

3. Jonathan Scott* History of the Deccan,. Vol. II, p. 54. 


not forget that he left one army to its fate in Egypt, and fled with 
his own life by abandoning a still greater multitude on the snows of 
Russia. Finally, the remnant of his vast army he saw routed at 
Waterloo. This great conqueror of the world ultimately fell into 
the hands of his mortal enemies and remained their captive on a 
solitary island up to the end of his life. His empire vanished, his 
code was torn up and his son was disinherited in his life-time. The 
tragic end of Napoleon and the pathetic dissolution of his empire 
wear off the lustre of his victories and glories. Shivaji had no 
mortification of such disgraceful defeats and heart-rending tragedies. 
The foundations of his empire were dug so deep and it was so 
completely welded together that it could successfully pass through 
the greatest crisis after his death. It grew bigger and stronger with 
the lapse of time, so that his successors are still ruling at Kolhapur 
after the lapse of more than 250 years. 

14. An extraordinary resourcefulness was a remarkable feature 
of his genius. His whole life is a commentary on the superb 
versatility exhibited by him in times of emergency. He was never 
taken at a disadvantage by the wiles, deceits, secret plans and 
perfidy of his enemies. On the contrary he mostly succeeded in 
catching them in his net. His genius seemed to shine brilliantly 
amidst dangers, and he adopted original means to rescue himself or 
to destroy his enemies. The release of Shahji, the massacre of 
Mores, the assassination of Afzal Khan, his escape from Panhala, 
his ruse near Vishalgad, the rape of Surat, his escape from Agra, 
his flight through the Mogul Empire, are exploits which appear to 
be romances. These magnificently illustrate the versatility of his 
-unique genius. 

Dpuglas has well said : " Like all animals that have been 
hunted ( as he, Shivaji had been ) he was wary and apprehensive 
to a degree and boundless in stratagem to meet sudden emergencies. 
In this science he had more in his little finger than Aurangzeb had 
in his whole body a light sleeper with one eye ever open. And for 
courage we have Orme's authority and he may have had it from a 
Jiving representative, that it was the boast of soldiers to have been 


-with Shivaji when he rushed sword in band into the midst of the- 
enemy." l 

15. The character of Shivaji has been rightly protrayed by 
Swami Ramdas. His appreciation of the virtues of the young king 
was the reflection of the popular opinion. Therefore it embodies* 
the Hindu contemporary view. 

" He is like a high mountain in determination. He is th&^ 
support of many people. He is unflinching in his ideals. He is rich 
in asceticism. The stream of his good deeds is ever flowing. How 
can the greatness of his virtues be compared to others ? He is a 
glorious, victorious, valorous, virtuous, charitable, diplomatic, and 
wise king. He is devoted to virtue, reason, charity and religion. 
He is humble, though he is omniscient. He is unwa\ering, liberal* 
grave, heroic and ever-ready for action. This best of kings has 
outdone others in resourcefulness. He is the protector of the gods,, 
religion, cows and Brahmans. In his heart God has established 
Himself to inspire him. Scholars, Sadhus, poets, Brahmans 
devoted to sacrifices, and philosophers are supported by him. There 
is none like him as a protector of religion in this world. If the 
religion of Maharashtra is somewhat alive now, it is due to him." 

16. The Lion of Maharashtra: Such was the saintly king who 
was spitefully and preversely called a ' Mountain Rat ' and an. 
unscrupulous villain by his enemies. He was undoubtedly a man 
of the mountain. His admirers style him the Lion of Maharashtra^ 
There is no doubt that he turned lambs into lions. The poor,, 
down-trodden, submissive, fatalistic masses of Maharashtra were 
galvanized by his magic touch and inspiring personality into a 
superhuman activity. They were transformed into finest soldiers*, 
dare-devils, consummate generals, constructive statesmen to match 
the mighty Moguls, the heroes of a hundred battles. Such was the 
magic transformation brought by this ' illiterate, uncultured,, 
despised, robber.' Shivaji can justly be called a magician, a 
superman whose deeds shall ever emblazen the pages of Indian., 

I. ] Douglas, Bombay and Western India. Vol. I, p, 368. 

Shivaji a Robber 

1. European view: The Europeans did not realize that 
"Shivaji was fighting for the freedom of the Hindus from the 
onslaughts of fanatic Muslim kings. They called him a marauder, 
a robber, a rover, a thief, a freebooter, a plunderer. Contemporary 
Englishmen condemn him as " a pirate and universal robber that 
hath no regard to friend nor foe, God nor man." The republican 
Dutch were specially profuse in calling him a robber. In almost 
every letter reproduced m these volumes, Shivaji is addressed a 
robber or rover by them. He has been branded as a monster of 
atrocious cruelty, a merciless tyrant, an incendiary who indulged 
in an orgy of plunder and desolation of opulent cities and rich 
provinces. He was railed a devil, a devil's son, the son of 
damnation, a hell-dcg by the contemporary Muslims, and the Atila 
of Asia by the Portuguese. Even Col. Tod was so unsympathetic 
as to say that " the Marathas were associations of vampires who 
drained the very life-blood wherever the scent of spoil attracted 
them. ' 

Sir John Seeley bluntly wrote that ' in the Maratha movement 
there never was anything elevated or patriotic, but that it continued 
from the first to be an organisation of plunder. 1 

V. Smith, a distinguished English historian who spent his whole 
active career in India, has nothing better to say. " The Maratha 
independent rule A* as the rule of professed robbers. In short, the 
Marathas were robbers by profession." 

Sir J. Sarkar, the learned historian of Shivaji, writes that the 
object of Shivaji's military enterprises was mere plunder. 

2. Plunder ifter an ultimatum: It is asserted that Shivaji 
freely indulged in lawless plunder and rapine, indiscriminate 


destruction, cruelty and tyranny. The plunder of Surat, Rajapur^ 
Karwar, Hubli, Chhapra, etc, left heaps of ashes and ruins of 
desolation. We have heart-rending scenes of the destruction of 
many such places. These volumes provide numerous instances of 
the horrible scenes of plunder and arson. But we should not forget 
the circumstances which led to the fiercest retribution. Shiva did 
not indulge in indiscriminate plunder, but his loot was regulated by 
humane laws. 

Every time that the Maratha forces approached Surat, the- 
authorities and the people \\ere given ultimatums to send an 
adequate present to the invading army within a certain time,, 
otherwise the city >\ould be given over to the fire and sword. Even 
in the case of Karwar, Vmgurla, Hubli such ultimatums are 
unequivocally mentioned. 

As early as May 1663 the English factors write that " all the 
way as he goes along, he gives his Qaul, premising them that 
neither he nor his souldiers shall in the least do any wrong to any 
body that takes his Qaul ; which promise he hitherto hath kept" * 
Thus plunder was resorted to in places where ransom was not paid. 

The Dutch while condemning his tyranny, have admitted that 
he gave an opportunity to the people to ransom their places, 
*' Nearly all the places he marched through, were set on fire by 
him if they did not pay the money he demanded and that so hastily 
that parents could not save their children from the flames." * 

3. Rules re. Plunder: It was a recognized law of Shivaji that 
cows, calves, women, children, Brahmans and priests of all 
religions, were not to be molested in plundering a town. All houses 
of God, like temples, mosques and churches, even orphanages and 
convents were sacred, and consequently, exempt from plunder. A 
millionaire escaped in the disguise of a woman from Karanja as he 
Jcnew that he would not be molested or questioned in that dress. 3 

1. Shivaji, Vol. I, p. 83; see pp 196, 291, 294, 326, 345, 559. 

2. Shivaji, Vol. I. p. 559. 

3. Sbivaji, Vol. I. p. 232. 

S. 2. 


In Surat the Capuchin priests were given protection, and hence the 
Maratha Raja is called " the Holy Shivaji " by Bermer. Not 
only this, the same writer produces another testimony of the 
discriminatory system of Maratha loot. Mohandns Parekh of 
Surat was well-known for his charities, and hence even after his 
death the house of such a pious man was exempted from plunder 
by an order of Shivaji. 

On p. 573 of Vol. I, there is a Dutch statement that Shiva 
carried away from Bardes young girls whom he sold to his soldiers. 
This might be an exception to the general rule. He had invaded 
Bardes for the protection of the Hindus who on pain of banishment 
had been prohibited the exercise of their religion (Vol. II, p. 507 ) 
The general practice of the times was to enslave both men and 
women. Shivaji as a rule refrained from slavery, but the Portuguese 
oppressions might have led him to follow the general custom of 
enslaving women as a retaliatory measure. When Shah Jahan 
destroyed the Portuguese town of Hugh in Bengal, 4,400 were taken 
prisoners, and of these 500 best looking young persons were sent to 
Agra. The girls were distributed among the harems of the Emperor 
and the nobility ; and the boys were circumcised and made 
Mussaltnans. 1 

4. The regulations regarding expeditions laid down that an 
inventory of the goods of every soldier was to be made on the start 
and also on his return. The articles taken in loot and belonging to 
the state, were taken from him and his pay for the months of 
service was given to him. Shivaji kept spies in the army to see 
bow far his regulations were being observed. The delinquents were 
punished. In the loot of Hubly the English claimed a large sum 
of compensation from Shivaji. He told them that he had not 
received their articles. These might have been plundered by a 
party of the Muslims which followed the Maratha army. In the 
Dharangaon plunder too the English factors demanded far more 
than was reported to Shivaji. He refused to compensate them for 
anything more than had been received by him. It is evident that 
1. Elliot, VII, pp. 42-43; 211. 


he had much confidence in the strict discipline of his army and 
believed that there were a very few opportunities for embezzlement 
accessible to his sepoys. 

Thus plunder was regulated by detailed rules, and indiscriminate 
cruelty was avoided as far as possible. We learn from Da Guarda 
that it was the strict order of Shivaji that unless resistance was 
offered, no one should be killed. 1 

5. Plunder justified His system of plunder is fully justifiable. 
Once it is admitted that he was at war with the Muslim States, 
"both of the South and the North, he was permitted by both Eastern 
and Western international laws to lead plundering expeditions into- 
the enemy's country. Sukra in his ' Sukraniti ' has clearly laid 
down that 2 

The powerful should carefully coerce the enemy by stopping- 
the supplies of water, provisions, fodder, grass, etc. in an 
unfavourable region and then extirpate it. 

One should commence military operations all of a sudden and 
withdraw also in an instant and fall upon the enemy like robbers 
from a distance. 1 ' 

The punitive expeditions in the N. W. frontier of India led by 
the Indian Government are of the same kind. The desolating 
expeditions against the Red Indians by civilized Americans to 
exterminate the whole race, were decidedly worse than those of 
Shivaji. The Spanish expeditions for the wholesale extinction of 
the native Americans in Mexico, Peru and Brazil fully illustrate 
the unbridled character of civilized warfare of Europe. Shivaji 
did not adopt those devilish methods. Compare the cruel tyrannies 
inflicted upon the innocent people by the Christian conquerors in 
Mexico, Peru and Brazil, or in the U. S. A. and Australia in 
modern times. We should not ignore the indiscriminate slaughter 
of the undefended civilian population by bombs and poisonous 
gases in Abyssinia, Spain and Poland. 

1. Shiraji, Vol. 1,208. 2. 'Ch, IV. VII. 740, 747 ( Eng. Trans. ). 


6. System of Ckantk We should particularly remember his 
system of Chauth which was le\ ied from the enemy subjects to 
give them protection from further invasion and molestation. Thus 
the Maratha ruler made all efforts to reduce the miseries and pangs 
of warfare by wise regulations- He invited the enemy subjects to 
accept his sovereignty or his protection by giving Chauth. If these 
alternatives were not accepted by them, they were to undergo all 
the miseries which war would justify to be inflicted upon them. By 
Ins frequent expeditions against Surat and other rich commercial 
towns, he impressed upon the people that they were insecure and 
unprotected under Muslim rulers, hence they should renounce their 
allegiance to them and accept his rule. Once they became his 
subjects, whether they were Hindus or Muslims, they enjoyed 
peace and security in the Maratha Raj. 

7. Why Black-nail necessary ? Shivaji often used to say to 
the Mogul subjects that their Emperor was hurling armies after 
armies against him, and was thus compelling him to maintain large 
forces to defend his territory. These extra armies could be maintained 
by extra taxes levied upon his own subjects or by the plunder obtained 
from the Mogul territories. The first course would have exhausted 
his own people, but by the second method he enriched his people* 
enthused them for war, infused a spirit of invincibility in them, and 
showed them the weakness of his enemies. Thus for eight months 
his soldiers used to feed themselves at the expense of the enemy, 
and also bring much wealth into their own country. 

In short, the maxims of political science, international law t 
and historical practice supply justification of his plundering system. 
It is to the credit of Shivaji that he made efforts to minimize the 
miseries of war. His was an organised plunder full of humane 
laws. Hence he stands far above such conquerors as Alexander, 
Af ahmnd, Changez, Timur and Nadirshah. 

8. Sbi?aji aid Makamd: The lust of plunder alone lured 
Mahmud to the richest temple of Somnath. It was mere filthy 
lucre that was the cause of his fourteen expeditions to India. 


Compare his proverbial cupidity of refusing to give the agreed sum 
to Firdausi, the author of Shahnama, with the generosity that 
characterized Shivaji in patronizing hundreds of scholars and saints. 
Then compare the death-scenes of both. While Mahmud bitterly 
cried and shed a stream of tears at being deprived by the god of 
death, of wealth which had been laboriously accumulated by him, 
Shivaji, though his treasuries were full like those of Mahmud, lay 
unconcerned with respect to wealth. He was engrossed in 
contemplating God with a spiritual calm and peace unusual in 
crowned persons. It appeared that he had been leading a life of 
renunciation and not of a leader of conquering hosts. 

9. Shivaji and Changez Khan It is necessary here to bring- 
in the name of Changez Khan, the scourge of God, the mighty 
man-slayer who demolished numerous cities, devastated vast 
countries, massacred and enslaved hundreds of thousands of men. 
In Herat and its surrounding districts 600,000 persons were put 
to the sword, while in Bagdad the figure of the dismal holocaust rose 
to 1,600,000 people. Historians have estimated that more than one 
crore and eighty lakhs people were done to death by the Mongols. 

" The grim pageantry of death that appeared in the tracks of 
the Mongol horsemen" has been well depicted by various historians- 
Elphinstone has well said that " this irruption of the Moguls was 
the greatest calamity that has fallen on rnankind since the deluge/* 
"This destruction of human life bewilders the modern imagination." 1 
Shivaji was mercy itself as compared to the Mongol conquerors. 

10. Shivaji and Timor: Now let us compare him with Timur. 
This Turko- Mongol scourge of mankind invaded India for slaves 
and wealth. From Hindukush to Samana, ' he slaughtered the 
inhabitants of every place he passed.' 8 By the time that he reached 
Delhi, he had one hundred thousand Hindu slaves in his camp* 

Foreseeing the danger of revolt and disturbance by such large 

, i 

1. Cf. Harold Lamp, Genghis Khan. p. 13 ; Elphinstone, History of 

India, p. 321. 
* 2. Elphinstone, Ibid, p. 406. 


-numbers at the time of his battle with the Delhi forces, he 
mercilessly ordered all these human beings to be put to the sword 
as if they were dogs or flies. This is only one example of the 
mercy and humanity of this world-conqueror. On his return from 
India, in all the places visited by him innumerable infidels were 
despatched to the fires of hell. Thousands of people who escaped 
death were made prisoners and carried to Samarkand. The fair 
city of Delhi was given up to plunder and conflagration for five 
days. During such a horrible massacre of human beings Timur 
was celebrating a feast in honour of his victory. Towers were 
built with the heads of Hindus and their bodies were Mt to beasts 
and birds of prey. Elphmstone summarizes the character of Timur 
by calling him a wily, violent, and perfidious politician. 1 Shivaji 
did not enslave any people - even the Muslims, though captives of 
war could be sold in slavery by him according to the custom of the 
time. Even the Europeans in those days were enslaving Indians 
and transporting them to their colonies. But Shivaji did not follow 
this reprehensible practice. His ideal was to liberate his people 
from the foreign yoke and to break the bonds of the slavery of 
the Hindus. 

11. Shivaji and Nadirihah: Lastly, we should like to bring 
out an incident from the lives of Nadirshah and Shivaji. The former 
gave up Delhi, the most splendid city of the Mcgul Empire to fire, 
sword and indiscriminate plunder on the murder of his few soldiers 
by some aggrieved inhabitants of the city. At least 30,000 persons 
were brutally murdered, though Fraser puts the figure at 150,000 
men. The city remained a hedious scene of rapine, lust, destruction, 
fire, blood and terror for full one day. Shivaji was mercy itself 
on a much more serious occasion. The Governor of Surat 
employed an assassin to murder the Raja. He came as an 
ambassador of the Governor, and in course of conversation thrust 
his dagger at the heart of Shivaji. The body-guard of the Raja 
was extremely vigilant, he cut off the hand of the assassin in the 
very act of thrusting the dagger, so that Shivaji received only 

1. History of India, p. 408. 


a slight wound. But both the Raja and the assassin weltered in a 
pool of blood. The Marathas thought that their Raja was murdered. 
They ordered the heads of the captives to be cut off in revenge.. 
In a few moments Shivaji came back to senses. He at once stopped 
the massacre of the few captnes in his camp, and took no measures 
to avenge himself for this dastaidly deed upon the Governor or the 
the people of Surat. 

On comparing Shivaji with the Asiatic conquerors, it will be seen 
that the latter fully indulged in plunder, rapine, oppression, tyranny, 
slavery, forcible conversions. All of these came to put the yoke of 
foreign rule on this country. They \\erenotonly slave-making 
and fanatic Ghazies for comerting Hindus into Muslims, but were 
the destroyers of the liberty and autonomy of the Indian people. 
On the other hand, Shivaji stood forth as the patriotic champion of 
the freedom and independence of his people. He proved himself 
their liberator from the centuries of foreign rule. There can really 
be no comparison between a patriotic liberator of his mother-land 
and a destroyer of the liberties of men, between a slave-driver aud 
a slave-liberator, between a fanatic Ghazi and an ardent and 
respectful admirer of all religions. Comparisons are said to be 
odious, but the study of history will be fruitless, if readers are not 
to have a comparative insight into the deeds of great men. 

The Grand Rebel or Liberator 

1. Misconception of European settler*: The English factors 
of Karwar felicitously described Shiva in 1678 as " the grand rebel 
and great disturber of the felicity of the Deccan." Whilst the 
Bijapun forces " lie effiminately at house fearful of wetting their 
tender skins, our Maharajah plays his game so wisely as to destroy, 
rob, plunder, devastate and ruin the major and best part of their 
kingdom." One Surat letter of 1666 reports the defeat of ' that 
grand rebell Sevagy ' and another of his imprisonment in these 
words: " The grand rebell Sevagee is at last entrapped and 
caught in the same nett of glorious promises that hee was wont to 
make for others by this King, who is as perfidious as himself." 
Soon after it is reported that ' the grand rebel Sevage is escaped ' 
from Agra. The Surat factors again in 1673 refer to Shivaji as 
' that grand rebel who doth persist in his villanies.' : In several 
letters he is styled ' the great rebel ,' ' the arch rebel.* 

It is true that he was a rebel against the Muslim monarchies 
of Delhi and the Deccan. He aimed at their overthrow, and worked 
for the restoration of the freedom and independence of his own 
country. He stands in the foremost rank ot such liberators as 
Washington, Garibaldi, De Valera and Lenin. Each one of 
these rebels fought apainst the foreign or despotic government then 
prevalent in his country. Shivaji rebelled against political 
oppression, religious intolerance, social injustice, and cultural 
suppression, rampant under the Muslim monarchies. Through 
his extraordinary powers he succeeded in freeing the Hindus 
from the galling yoke of centuries. The European settlers in 
India could not appreciate his high and noble motives, but 
were superficial observers of the events passing before their 
eyes. Abbe Carre rightly appreciated the career of Shivaji by 
1. Shivaji, Vol. I, pp. 245, 256, 266, 409, Vol. II, 198. 


saying that he soon appeared to the East in a rebel subject a_ 
conqueror worthy nevertheless to be compared with the greatest 
men. 1 In another place he describes Shiva as ' one of the greatest 
warriors that the East has seen since a long time, and who, for his 
courage, the rapidity of his conquests and his great qualities, does 
not badly resemble the great Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. 
The same author has testified that Shiva was loved by his enemies. 
"To this swiftness he like Julius Caesar joined a clemency and a 
goodness which gained for him the hearts of those whom his arms 
came to terrify.' 1 

It is a pity that the European powers of the time, though 
themselves fighting for religious liberty in Europe and struggling 
for the independence of their countries, could not perceive any 
higher motive in the struggles of Shivaji. In England the struggle 
for religious liberty was led by John Wichf and Henry VIII. For 
a century and a half the English kings and people were fighting for 
the victory of their respective faiths, Protestantism or Catholicism. 
At last in 1688, the people succeeded by a bloodless revolution 
to change the succession to the throne from a Catholic king to 
a foreign Protestant ruler, William III. In that very year here in 
India, the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb completed his conquest of the 
three Deccan monarchies and wreaked his vengeance by mercilessly 
-executing the Hindu Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the leader of an 
independent Hinduism against the persecuting Islam. He came to 
believe that the Hindus of the Deccan would submit themselves- 
like those of the North to his persecuting laws and would soon 
accept Islam. He could hardly realize that Shivaji had prepared 
millions of Sambhajis for the defence of the Hindu religion and the 
overthrow of the Islamic state. 

" The army of Rajaram like that of Rama should fall upon the 
Muslims suddenly, from unexpected quarters in bands of 500 or 
1,000, even 200 men. They should separate them, drive them,, 
kill them and then run away. To sum up, all the people should 
have one aim of protecting Rajaram's kingdom at the sacrifice o 
1. Shivaji. Vol. I, p. 232 ; Hist. Misc. Pp. 36. 46. 

S. 3. 


their own lives. The whole Hindu people should struggle for 
their independence without caring for their lives." The Marathas 
-were transformed from a timid and down-trodden people into a 
conquering nation. Man)' people had been prepared to lay down 
their lives at the altar of their religion and country by the great 
king Shivaji. It was this wonderful transformation of the whole 
people from down-trodden, persecuted, passive, patient, submissive 
-and suppressed sheep into fearless, revengeful and conquering lions 
that \vab the immortal work of the great king. He had succeeded 
in uniting all the warring castes of the Hindus into one nation 
infused with the spirit of independence and conquest. His real 
work was visible after his death in times of the grave national 
emergency. The indigenous as well as the foreign people used to- 
call the Maratha soldiers as " Shivajis," as if every Maratha sepoy 
had become an incarnation of Shivaji. 

2. The mortal fear of the Maratbas: It was not merely the 
name of Shivaji which caused consternation among the Muslim 
.armies, even after his death his generals Dhanaji Jadhav and 
Santaji Ghorpade had created an extraordinary terror in the minds- 

-of their Muslim foes. Whenever a horse refused to drink water, 
the attendant used to question the animal whether it was seeing 
Ghorpade in the water. Trained for many years under the vigilant 
eye, strict discipline, elevating example and noble idealism of the 
great king, hundreds and thousands of officers unflinchingly carried 
on the war of independence for twenty years against the greatest 
power on earth in those days, and finally succeeded in inflicting 
crushing defeats upon their aged foe who died of a broken heart. At 
Aurangabad at his death-bed he had the generosity and vision to 
appreciate the virtues of Shivaji, who though dead, was present 
upon the battle-fields in spirit and was encouraging his soldiers to 
-display their superhuman bravery. 

3. HinM Swaraj or the ideal of Indian independence: It is 

absolutely incorrect to say that Shivaji had no ideal except plunder* 
His ideal bad been definitely determined as early as 1645 when he 
was a boy of sixteen and at the threshold of his political career* 


The appropriate portion has been reproduced on 23rd page of Part 
II. There are two more letters Nos. 503 and 506 requiring Dadaji 
Naras Prabhu to give up the cause of Shivaji and show allegiance 
to the Bijapur ruler. * It appears that up to that time notable 
Maval Deshmukhs like Bandal, Khopde and Jedhe had not allied 
themselves with this Maratha dreamer of Swaraj. Shivaji was 
convinced that God was with him in this holy war. He was 
consequently anxious to obtain the blessings of holy men and 
through them of gods. In a letter of Feb. 1653 Shivaji granted an 
Inam to a Brahman of Mahabaleshwar for performing certain rites 
to secure the progress of his Rajya. As this grant was made with 
the sanction of his mother, it is evident that she was in full 
sympathy with the ideal of her son. A few months later another 
grant was made to a Brahman of Chakan, because Shivaji had 
become entitled to a Rajya and obtained the fulfilment of his desire 
through the power of the holy man's prayers to God. a Being a noble 
of Bijapur and anxious to keep his power and position in old age, 
Shahji could not openly sympathize with the deeds of his son* 
After his release from captivity at Bijapur in 1649, he planned an 
independent kingdom for his adventurous son, gave him his most 
trusted servants, advised them to bring all the Maval Deshmukhs 
tinder him and to repel the attacks of both the Mogul and 
Bijapur forces. All along Shahji was anxiously watching and 
praying for the success of the young dreamer. He had vowed to 
offer a rich gift to the famous god of Jejuri if his son succeeded 
in establishing Swaraj. 3 

After the murder of Afzal Khan Shahji began to advance 
with his troops to assist his son for capturing Bijapur, but the 
scheme was given up when the old warrior learnt the withdrawal of 
the Maratha forces. Thus Swaraj and Hindvi Swaraj were ideals 
before Shivaji from 1645. Nothing succeeds like success. In the 
beginning it was a day-dream impossible to be realized. Hence all 
important persons kept themselves aloof from the arch rebel. But 

l. P. S. S. 

2-3 Shivaji, Part I, 168; Part II. 30. 


as the dream began to be transformed into a reality, more and more 
Maratha nobles joined him in this holy cause. 

Now it is manifest that Shivaji for the first time used the 
magnetic \\ords "Hindvi S \varaj" which ha\e become popular since 
then. It should be noted that it was not merely Swaraj for 
Maharashtra, not even Swaraj for the Hindus, but an All-Indian 
Swaraj. He was against foreign rule and religious persecutions. 
He even tried to win the Irdian Muslims to his cause and made an 
alliance against the foreign Pathans, Moguls and Persians. As the 
Muslim rulers were fanatically engaged in the unholy work of 
forcible conversions, he was ultimately led to subvert Muslim rule 
in India and establish Hindu Swaraj in the whole of India. A few 
evidences are culled below to manifest his noble ideal of Indian 

1. His ambitious programme of conquest is significantly 
indicated by the motto engraved on his royal seal. It was fixed to- 
each important document, and reminded him and the world the 
ultimate ideal of the hero. " This seal of Shivaji, son of Shahji, 
rules for the welfare of the people. This world-worshipped seal is 
desirous of growing like the new moon into a full moon." This seal 
can be traced to 1639. Shivaji was merely a boy of 9 years. The 
ideal was probably put before him by his astute father. 

2. Even in 1665, the letter written by Shivaji to Mirza Raja 
Jaismgh, puts forth his whole programme and ideal in unequivocal 
terms. (Vol. I, p. 247). 

3. His conquest of Southern India as far as Tanjore and 
covering a large part of the Vijayanagar Empire, took him nearer 
his ideal. 

4. His system of veiled subsidies from the two Muslim 
Kingdoms of the Deccan, was the recognition of his suzerainty 
over them. In outward form and in name it may be a gift made by 
a friendly power to an aggressor to cease from hostility and also to 
keep away others from aggression. It was really a tribute, and it 
lias been so called by the Maratha chronicles. 


5. The system of Chauth was a powerful instrument to 
impose the suzerainty of the Marathas on non-Maratha territories. 
The successors of Shivaji widely used this instrument of augmenting 
the empire by bringing in chauth paying protectorates. 

6. Shiva followed the subtle policy of exciting the Rajputs 
against Aurangzeb for becoming independent. In his letter to 
Jaisingh he pleaded for a union of northein and southern Hindu 
rulers, for bringing about the overthrow of the Muslim domination. 
In pursuit of this policy he advised Chhatrasal to return to his 
country and begin the fight for independence in the heart of the 
empire. This policy was finally crowned with success, since 
the Bundhelas dealt severe blows to the empire and dissipated its 

7. Shivaji went to seek the blessing of saint Parmanand for 
the conquest of Rajapur. He offered the saint in gift a village for 
every fort conquered by him, but the Swami declined to accept the 
offer and demanded villages in the unconquered provinces of 
Hyderabad, Berar, Khandesh, Baglan, Malwa and Gujerat. The 
Maharaja understood the implication of the demand. " All these 
provinces are now bestowed upon me," said he, " through your 
blessing these will be annexed by me." A similar offer is said to 
have been made by Samarth Ramdas. Thus saints encouraged 
Shivaji in strengthening his imperial idea of conqueiing the whole 
of India. 1 

8. We have H. Gary's evidence that "Shivaji had vowed to 
his pagod ( Goddess Bhavani ) never to sheath his sword till he 
had reached Delhi and shut up Aurangshah in it." 8 

9. Dr. Fryer too has fortunately recorded the views of 
Shivaji. ' He tells them, his compeers the Duccanees, he is their 
champion, and that none of them besides himself has the heart to 
stand up for their country : and therefore if he chance now and then 
to rob them, it is but to reward himself and soldiers for his and their 
pains in endeavouring to free them from a more unnatural slavery."* 

1. Wakaskar, 91 Q. Bakhar, p. 131. 
2-3. Shivaji, Part III, Pp. 254, 174, 


10. The 91 Q. Chronicle informs us that during his conversation 
-with Tana Shah, Shivaji observed that if the two kingdoms of 
Golconda and Bijapur assisted him, he would conquer for them the 
whole of Hindustan. 

11. The Chitragupta Chronicle ( P. 131 ) records that Shivaji 
-expressed regret to his son Sambhaji that only one object of his 
remained unfulfilled and that was the conquest of Delhi by making 
Aurangzeb absolutely helpless. However time was to show how for 
his goddess Amba would favour this design. 

12. One more testimony is to be found in Shivaji's letter to 
Maloji Ghorpade. The latter \\as persuaded lo leave the cause of 
Bijapur, and join Shivaji and Kutubshah in stamping out foreign 
rule from the Deccan. *' It is not a good thing that the Pathans 
came to possess the Fadshahi of the Deccan. If they become 
powerful, they will destroy the families of the Deccani nobles one 
after the other. They will not allow any one to live. The Pathans 
should be destroyed, and steps should be taken to keep the Padshahi 
of the Deccan in the hands of the Deccanees. After an agreement 
was accepted by both sides, we also thought that whatever Marathas 
are of our caste, they should be taken into the confederacy and 
should be introduced to Kutubshah." 1 

13. The last will and testament of Shivaji is significant in 
showing his ideals and ambitious programmes. He exhorted his 
officers to put forth all their energy for the extension of the Maratha 
kingdom to the further most confines of India and for capturing 1 
the throne of Delhi; to free the sacred Ganges from the yoke of the 
Muslims ; to cross the Indus and implant the Maratha flag in the 
trans- Indus Himalayas. '* It was my intense desire to conquer the 
whole of India, but I have not fulfilled it on account of my 
premature death. You should all attempt to realize this high ideal. 
The kingdom founded by me should be consolidated and extended 
"with more heroism than I have ever exhibited." 

1. Shivaji, Part III, 282. 

Shivaji, Prince of Perfidy 

1. A prince of perfidy, a cunning fox, a master of craft, a 
perfidious thief, a wily and subtle politician are the titles given to* 
Shiva. He is said to have unscrupulously used all sorts of treachery, 
duplicity, intrigue, giles and frauds to confound and kill his enemies. 
Even in April 1660, Shivaji is described by the Dutch asacunning 
fox who stands ready with all his devilish practices and cunning 
to buy Siddi Jauhar. The English depict him as one of the 
most politic princes of those eastern parts. Escaliot describes him 
as distrustful, secret, subtle, cruel and perfidious. 1 Instead of 
condemning Shiva we should admire him that his sharp genius was 
ever ready to discover new methods to humiliate and embarrass his 
enemies and to win as much by diplomacy as by war. All great 
conquerors had recourse to intrigue and treachery according to the 
necessities of the moment. Smith concludes that Akbar telt no* 
scruples about removing his enemies by assassination. He adds 
that the tortuous diplomacy and perfidious action which on several 
occasions marked the emperor's political proceedings, should not 
excite surprise or draw excessive censure. * Aurangzeb was no less 
perfidious than Shivaji. He had tracked ' his unfaltering way 
through a cloud of mysterious intrigues and a sea of blood to the 
throne. 1 In him were combined the venomous craft of Louis XI 
with the merciless ferocity of Caesar Borgia*. The Bijapur rulers 
did not spare clandestine means to do away with their enemies. 
Napoleon took pride in saying that he knew when to exchange the 
lion-skin for that of the fox. Though Shiva never shrank from 
using subtle means to fulfil his ends, it has been proved that he 
did not practise perfidy in the disposal of the Mores of Javli and 
Baji Ghorpade of Mudhol. The assassination of Afzal Khan has 
remained a live issue even up till now. Kincaid, the latest 

1. Shivaji, Vol. I, Pp, 212, 390, 480. 

2. Akbar the Great Mogul, p. 342. 


biographer of Shiva, has absolved him from treachery in his recent 
book ' The Grand Rebel.' I have critically examined the evidence 
available on the murder ef Afzal Khan to throw more light on the 

2. Statement of the case: The question should have been 
closed after the most definite views of Sir J. Sarkar expressed in 
his third edition of Shivaji. Its recent resuscitation requires a 
re-examination. I take it for granted that the reader is acquainted 
with the mam story of the death of Afzal Khan. My conclusions 
on this controversy can be stated in four propositions. 

(1) Shivaji was justified even in treacherously murdering 
Afzal Khan, because everything is fair in love and war. 

(2) In that age treachery was the useful weapon for 
assassinating one's enemies. We should not judge the men of that 
age by our standard of morality. If any one is to be blamed, it is 
the Khan for using treachery. 

(3) The Khan had taken the pledge to use deceitful means 
for capturing or murdering Shivaji. Therefore, the latter was 
justified in paying the Khan in his own coins. 

(4) Lastly, the Khan was extremely anxious to have the 
Maratha rebel near him as he was confident that he could 
over-power him with his superior strength. So he readily consented 
to the terms proposed by Shivaji. In the long run the latter 
out-witted his adversary in diplomacy and deceit. Both of them 
were suspicious of each other and had come prepared to meet the 
worst. The Khan was the first to attack Shivaji, so that the latter 
killed the former in self-defence. The Khan's murder was 
consequently not a premeditated and treacherous act of Shivaji. 
These propositions will now be explained below. Starting with the 

-supposition that Shivaji did use treachery in killing Afzal Khan, 
we see no reason to condemn him. 

3. Life and death struggle This war was a life and death 
struggle for both Shivaji and the Khan. The former had to face a 
formidable army sent by Bijapur to destroy his infant Swaraj and 


to murder him. It was his duty to save himself and his kingdom 
by all means, as everything is fair in love and war. Secondly, the 
Khan had been the cause of the murder of Shiva's elder brother; he 
had led Shahji in fetters to Bijapur ; he was guilty of desecrating 
the Hindu temples and of the inhuman murder of his numerous 
wives ; he was the enemy of Maratha Swaraj and was pledged to 
restore Javli to the surviving scion of the More family; and 
lastly, he had taken a solemn vow to carry Shivaji alive or dead 
to Bijapur. Shiva should not be condemned for his success in 
entrapping such a foe in his clutches and finally assassinating 
him. Thirdly, he believed himself to be a divine agent tor 
establishing a Hindu Kingdom in Maharashtra. His success 
meant the existence and growth of this new Raj. His death 
entailed its total destruction. Shivaji was trying to bring in a 
revolution. Evry revolution is fostered by subterranian propaganda, 
secret massacres and satanic atrocities. Secrecy and treachery 
are the very soul of a revolution. Shivaji was justified in following 
ail these methods to bring the revolution to a successful issue. 
The hands of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler are dyed red 
with the blood of thousands of innocent people. Shivaji was mercy 
itself in comparison to the horrors perpetrated by the Bolshevics in 
establishing their suppremacy in Russia. 

Fourthly, it was a war of arms and diplomacy. Shiva was 
certainly weak in the first, but extremely strong in the latter. He 
-was a master in the art of dissimulation, and easily confused his 
foes by this subtle means. Even Rama, Krishna, and Indra are 
said to have a recourse to treachery in war. Sukra has frankly 
advised rulers " to inspire confidence in the enemy by sweet smiling 
face, soft words, confession of guilt, gifts, humiliation, praise, good 
offices as well as oaths" (IV. VII. 365. ) Chanakya, the Indian 
Mechiavelli, has taught hundred and one means of secretly 
murdering enemies. We need not recoil at the use of treachery, . 
rather admire Shivaji for befooling his foe and ending the war to 
his immense advantage. His act is justified in the light of history 
and on the principles of policy. 

S. 4. 


4. Treachery- the most common means of murders: Afsal 
Khan had been guilty of treacherously murdering the Nayak of 
Sira after he had invited him to a conference ( Shahji, p. 111). 
Ali Adil Shah was guilty of murdering Bahlol Khan treacherously 
( Shivaji Vol. I, p. 95 ) ; he and the queen-mother murdered several 
ministers by some treacherous means up to 1658. Then Khawas 
Khan was murdered by Bahlol in 1675 through treachery; 
Aurangzeb had treacherously put to death his brothers and relatives; 
even Mirza Raja Jaisingh was ready to use treachery against 
Shivaji by inviting him for negotiating a marriage of the latter's 
daughter with his own son. Scores of officers were poisoned by 
the Mogul Emperors and their Governors. Even the most faithful 
and veteran general Jai Singh was poisoned by Aurangzeb. We 
need not quote the well-known examples of treachery committed 
by the Nizamshahi king to murder Shivaji's grand-father Jadhavrao- 
in the open Durbar, by Malik Ambar's son in murdering his 
master, the Nizam Shahi king in revenge for treachery used 
against him, by Alla-ud-dm Khilji in murdering his uncle and 
in capturing the ruler of Chittor, or by Sher Shah in capturing 
Rohitas Fort and in conquering Jodhpur. In such a vicious 
atmosphere of political morality, it is hard to believe that Afzal 
Khan intended r.o harm to Shivaji ; that he had come there like an 
innocent lamb to be murdered by the Maratha wolf. If he was 
really so stupid and simple as to fall into the trap of Shivaji, so 
much the worse for him. The Maratha rebel is to be admired 
all the more for the success of his artful stratagems. It 
Tvill be the climax of diplomacy, duplicity and machination that 
lie should have so lulled the enemy into a sense of security as to 
annihilate him in a moment. Shivaji was convinced that the 
general was finding out secret means of putting him to death. 
Therefore he came fully prepared to recoil treachery upon his foe. 
All preparations were made in self-defence, so that he should not be 
taken unawares. Hence Khan's death was a preventive and not a 
pre-meditated and treacherous murder. 

It should not be forgotten that the suppression of Shivaji was 
considered to be the most difficult task by the nobles of Bijapur. 


Afzal Khan alone came forward to bring Shiva alive or dead to 
Bijapur. But he was really doubtful of his success. According to 
Abb6 Carre he shut himself up in his mansion for several days to 
enjoy the last pleasures of this world. The climax of this round of 
enjoyments was an incredible tragedy. He was afraid that after 
his death his wives might be taken up by others. Therefore, he 
killed 120 ladies of his harem. 1 The Muslim world of those days 
was not stunned with the demoniac murder of so many innocent 
ladies. This tragedy is a strange commentary on the unlimited 
power enjoyed by the nobles of those times. Instead of being* 
hanged for such a brutal inhumanity, he was honoured by his ruler 
and given command of the forces sent against Shivaji. It is evident 
that Afzal Khan came with a determination to conquer or 
die. He desired to have Shiva in his clutches by diplomatic means. 
But he was out-witted by his subtle adversary. 

5. Evidence of the Khan's treachery (1) The tragedy of Afzal 
occurred on 10th Nov., 1659. Exactly one month later the English 
Factor of Rajapur wrote that Afzal Khan was counselled by the 
Queen to pretend friendship with his enemy ; and (2) that the 
General did follow this advice. " The other whether through 
intelligence or suspicion, it's not known, too dissembled his love 
towards him ", till he lured his troops to the fatal valley of the 

(2) The fact of capturing him alive and bringing the captive to 
the court is borne out by the contemporary Shiva Bharata (17. 13. 
37 ). If capture was not possible, he was to kill him in any 
case. The Shiva Bharata says : 

" Raja Shivaji has trust in me ; so I shall now meet him under 
colour of arranging peace, and myself plunging my concealed 
dagger deep into his heart, shall presently create panic even in the 
abode of the gods " : thus the Muhammedan planned treachery in 
his own mind ; how Sbivaji, knowing all that, prepared to visit 
1. Basatin-i-SalatiD confirms the story. The number of ladies killed i 
64 and their graves are said to exist outside Bijapor ci*y near the Mnsolenm of 
the Khan. 


lum with the fruits of his treachery in battle-all that I will tell 1 
you: 9 

(3) We are told thrice by Sabhasad that Shivaji was to be 
captured alive ( see pages 10, 15, 16 of Sen's Sh. Chh.) and that he 
was informed of the secret plans of the Queen and the General by 
friendly nobles of Bijapur. 

(4) The firman to Kanhoji Jedhe mentions that Shivaji and his 
followers are to be exterminated ( Shivaji Souvenir, p. 142 ). Shiva 
did not remain satisfied with the information received from his 
friends at Bijapur. He sent his envoy to the Khan's camp at Wai 
to confirm the truth. He came to know that the Khan was 
cherishing perfidious designs against him. Therefore he adopted 
all means to counteract his secret plans and to pay him in his own 

(5) Doth these facts are fully borne out by an impartial Dutch 
document. This evidence is so explicit and unequivocal that all 
later accounts have to be ignored before it. (Shivaji Vol. I, p. 475) . 

" He commanded thither the noble Lord Abdulchan, his 
Genera], with an awful army with an express order that he should 
destroy the above-mentioned Siwasie by the strength of his arms 
or he should rob him of his life as possible with sweet words and 
jgreat promises and affirmations of unmingled friendship. This 
resolution has been plainly communicated to him by a most 
prominent councellor of the Visiapour Court, warning the 
above-named Siwasie not to trust in the noble Lord Abdulchan 
ivho was sent for no other purpose but to ruin him ( lit. to fetch 
his head )." 

In this war of diplomacy Shiva outwitted the Khan and 
successfully despatched him to the other world. This is described 
as treacherous murder, but it was really a preventive murder or a 
murder in self-defence. It is permitted by ancient and modern 
laws and the Hindu books on polity. 

6. Khan 1 ! aeziety to bnre the interview: Shivaji took up the 
challenge and thought out plans to destroy the Khan and his forces. 


The former had taken the central part of Shivaji's kingdom, now 
he was most anxious to obtain an interview with the rebel so that 
in a duel he might despatch that short-sized youth to the other 
world. It seemed to be a fight between a giant and a pigmy. Afzal 
with his gigantic figure was a hero of a hundred victories. Shivaji 
was a small and slender young man of 30 years in no way a match 
for the strong, sturdy and stalwart Khan. The latter was warned 
by astrologers of his failure, but he rightly paid no heed to their 
prophecies. During the march to Javli there were ill omens. 
These too were passed unheeded. His advisers dissuaded him 
from going to Javli, but he reprimanded them for their 
pussilanimity. He thought that without fighting any battle he 
would be the master of the ancient town and castle of Javli, that 
Shivaji would come into his clutches and be captured or despatched 
forthwith. Therefore, he accepted whatever terms were demanded 
by the Maratha leader. 

Afzal might have been convinced by the diplomatic manoeuvres 
of Shivaji that the latter was absolutely ready to submit to him 
and crave pardon for his past deeds. The purpose of the war 
would be fulfilled by an interview alone. 

Shivaji was naturally unwilling to go to Wai for being murdered 
in cold blood and be unable to take revenge for the deed. He was 
anxious to entrap Afzal and his army in the valley of Javli, so 
that from the thick and wild forests his wild men should fall, if 
need be, upon the armed or unarmed Muslim forces and prevent 
their escape through the impenetrable forests. He succeeded in 
enticing them into his trap by his superior diplomacy. He cut 
roads through the thick forests and treated them right royally all 
along the route. He gave them a sumptuous feast after their 
arrival on the banks of the river Koina. He pitched up a very 
beautiful Mandap for the reception of the general. The latter sent 
a party to reconnoitre the place and to examine the Mandap, and 
was satisfied that no treachery was designed against him. Thus 
his suspicions were fully removed and he consented to enter the 
pavilion with two attendants only, while ten picked body-guards 


were stationed outside the pavilion. He first advanced with 
1,000 or 1,500 men to the place of the meeting, but was told that 
this was against the stipulations. Therefore, they were left on the 
slope of Pratapgarh at the distance of a bowshot. According to 
Chitnis, they were stationed at different places on the way. Thus 
he had taken precautions for his safety and for an eventual coup 
on the castle by placing his men near him ready to rush in time 
of need. 

7. The Khan was the first to strike the blow: Having come 
to know that he was to be either captured or murdered, Shiva took 
all the precautions to prevent both these acts. He was even 
justified in attacking his enemy at the first chance. By giving him 
time he might have been attacked first and thus the whole game 
would have been lost. But he was not the first to strike the first 
blow. The Khan with a giant's strength was impatient to end the 
war by killing the small and slender youth. 

The Hindu writers are unanimous that Afzal Khan was the 
first to take the offensive ( Shivaji Vol. I, p. 51 ), while the Muslim 
historians and their European followers blame Shivaji for the same, 
but no Muhammedan present at the tragic scene escaped alive. 
The general impression must have been that Afzal Khan was 
treacherously killed. That version became popular and therefore 
was repeated by every traveller and historian afterwards. In our 
own day we find that Germany was charged with the war-guilt by 
almost all the nations, but she has persistently protested against 
the charge. 

(1) It is said that Afzal Khan did not seem to have taken any 
precautions to protect his person. He did not wear any steel armour 
-under his clothes just as Shivaji had done, and that (2) his 
attendants and generals were not instructed to be ready to take 
action in the event of treachery. In my opinion, he was over 
-confident in his success in despatching Shivaji during the interview 
and in capturing the fort with 1,500 body-guards, so that he did not 
think it necessary to take any more precautions. His army was 


taking rest and amusing itself, so that it was attacked unawares 
from all sides by the Marathas. 

Shivaji took all precautions for his defence and for the 
destruction of the enemy's army. He even received the blessings 
of the Goddess Bhawani for his success in murdering Afzal Khan,, 
provided he was perfidiously attacked. 

The Khan wss proud of his strength. He was fully convinced 
that he could easily overpower the young man at the interview, that 
his death or capture would so utterly confuse his leaderless followers 
that a picked force of 1,500 would suffice to crush the handful of 
Marathas in the fort. He over-estimated his personal and military 
strength, and was ignorant of the Maratha forces which lay concealed 
in the surrounding forests. 

If Shivaji merely wanted to murder Afzal Khan even at the 
place of meeting, he could have easily done it through his hidden 
men. The Chitragupta Ch. says that he kept forty heroes hidden 
in a subterranean cell in the Mandap. He could have given them 
a sign to fall upon Afzal and cut him to pieces just before his 
appearance on the scene. Why should he have at all endangered 
his own life in an interview wherein the issue was doubtful and the 
odds were against him ? It is, therefore, evident that he came fully 
prepared for the worst, but not for treacherously murdering the 

J. Kareena records that Afzal tightly caught hold of Shivaji's 
neck under his arm and struck him with a dagger. Having been 
thus attacked Shivaji used his tiger-claws and opened his bowels. 
The same version is found in the Sh. Bharata and Sabhasad 
Chronicle ( Patwardhan's S. Bk. Pp*. 73, 79 ). The use of the 
Waghnuck or tiger-claws is extremely doubtful. He used the dagger 
and the sword. This point has been discussed by me in my book 
Shabji 1 ( p. 23 ). 

1. 91 Qulmi Bakhar, Shiva Bharat. Rairi Bakbar, Fryer, Kfaafi Khan. . 
Manucci and the English letters mention the use of the dagger and not of the - 
IVaghnukh. Therefore this weapon wa not held in his hand by Shiraji, 


In short, Shivaji murdered the Khan in self-defence, but the 
Muslims represented this as a treacherous murder. They were the 
rulers of the day. The Maratha leader was known as an arch rebel, 
a disturber of the peace of the Muslim kingdoms. Hence their 
version was accepted by the contemporaries. The belief of the 
people was confirmed by the secret surprise of Shaista Khan and the 
sudden invasion of Surat. The contemporary European writers 
describing the incident of Afzal Khan, merely followed the popular 
version of the ruling classes. Their hearsay opinion is not a biblical 
truth, and need not be taken seriously by us. 

Civil Administration 

1. Exttnt of Sbivtji'f Empire: A glance at the map opposite- 
p. 265 of Vol. II will show that Shivaji's kingdom included the 
following parts : 

(A) Swaraj- (1) A long strip of territory on the Western coast 
of India from the Northern confines of Dharampur or Ramnagar 
State to the boundary of Bednur with the exception of Bombay, 
Janjira and the Portuguese possessions. 

(2) All the inland country including Baglan, part of Nasik, 
the districts of Thana, Kalyan, Kolaba, Poona, Satara, Gadag^ 
Chitaldurg, Balapur, Kolar, Uskota, Vellore, Ginji, Arni, Bangalore 
and Shrirangpatam. 

(3) On the Eastern or Coromandal Coast his sway extended 
over Porto Novo, Negapatam, Pondichery, and the territory of 
Tanjore, while the ruler ot Madura acknowledged his suzerainty 
by paying tribute. Thus his kingdom bounded by the Tapti in the 
North extended to Rameshwaram in the South, while from the 
Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal it included the parts named 

(B) Chauth -pay ing territories: He used to collect the chauth 
from parts of Khandesh, Berars and the Central Provinces. The 
extent of this territory varied from time to time and the sums 
collected too depended upon the force used by his expeditionary 
army. Aurangzeb did not recognise his right of collecting the 
chauth. Therefore Shivaji gave Qauls 1 to the Mogul subjects who 
agreed to directly pay this contribution to him. 

(C) Tribute-paying states Then the states of Bijapur and' 
Golconda used to pay him a tribute, but these were in no way 
feudatories of Shivaji or in any way subject to him. The tribute 

1. Written assurances of immunity from Maratha attacks, 

S. 5. 


was really a friendly contribution for keeping the Moguls at an 
arm's length and for securing immunity from the predatory 
expeditions of the Marathas in these kingdoms. 

An indefinite and indefinable overlordship extended over all 
those parts of the Mogul Empire and the Deccan states which paid 
chauth, or a tribute to Shivaji. 

2. Administrative divisions The country was divided into 
Subhas, Sarkars, Parganas, and Maujas both in the Mogul Empire 
and the Deccan states. Shivaji replaced this division by Prants, 
Tarafs and Maujas. But the old nomenclature continued to be used 
for a long time, hence there is much confusion in identifying 
territories. We read of Sarkar Koregaon in Piant Wai, Pargatia 
Karad, 1 Subha Mamale Prabhavah, 2 Subha Dabhol or Mamala 
Dabhol. 8 There were in 1691 Sarsubhedari of Prant Moglai 
and Prant Bhaganagar, i. e., of territories captured from the 
Great Mogul and the Golconda kingdom. 4 

Military Circles and Civil Districts According to Justice 
Ranade the civil territory held under the direct sway of Shivaji, was 
divided into seventeen districts. He took the list from Chitnis, but 
it was either wrongly read by him or his copy was defective. 

(i) He has left off Chandi, Ami, Balapur, Phonda from the 
said list and added Karnatic as a district. Really it is * Jagdevagad 
in the Karnatic.' Then follow the names of other districts in the 
above-mentioned list. 

(ii) Further, he gives six forts in the territory of Tanjore* 
Chitnis has these forts in the district of Chandi or Ginji and not 
under Tanjore. In fact, Chitnis does not give the number of forts 
under Tanjore and Ami. Only Chitragupta has named thirty-two 
forts in the Prants of Vellore, Chandi and Tanjore. 

Thus the Prants mentioned by Chitnis and Chitragupta are 
with respect to the forts and not to the civil administration. In 
fact, the whole Konkan was divided into several civil districts. At 

14. Raj. VIII. Pp. 20-21. 23, 39. 39, 40-41. 47. 

5. Ranade. R. M. P., Pp. 117*118; Chitnis. Pp. 320-323. 


least twelve Prants are mentioned in another list, but in Chitnis- * 
list Konkan is mentioned as one Prant. 

The names of seventeen Military Circles with the number of 
forts under each are reproduced by us from Chitnis in the section 
en forts. 

3. Civil Divisions: The Mogul Emperor Farrukhseer granted 
the right of collecting chauth to Shahu. The extent of the country 
under him was mentioned in a list ' which was made according to 
the ancient rules as it was handed down from former times/ 2 
Therefore, we can take this to be the extent of Shivaji's empire. 

It appears that the Suba and Prant were interchangeable 
words. In Doc. 81 the names of eight * Subas ' are given. 5 
Further on these are called Prants in this very document. In the 
list of hereditary estates of Ramchandra Pant Amatya, 4 we read of 
Sarkars Junner, Sangamner and Parande, but Poona, Panhala* 
Satara, Kadewalit, Miraj, etc., are mentioned as prants in this list. 
Therefore the civil districts of the time of Shivaji may be said to 
be the following : 

Civil Districts No. of Tarafs or Talukas.* 

Doc. 78 of Raj. VIII. Zabta Swaraj 

1. Poona and Wai 12 Tarafs 10 

2. Maval 12 13 

3. Satara 6 6 

4. Karad 9 9 

5. Khatav 11 11 

6. Mandesh 6 6 

7. Malkapur 4 4 

8. Tarle 5 5 

9. Panhala 10 10 

10. Ajra 11 51(?> 

11. Junner 13 24 

1. Chitnis, p. 317. 

2-4. Rajvade, VIII, docs. 78, 81, 122. 

5. Trans, by Sen, Ad. S. M., pp. 95-96. 



Civil Districts No. of Tarafs or Talukas. 

Doc. 78 of Raj. VIII. Zabta Swaraj 

Not given 

- do - 



Not given 


























Kole ( Akole ) 






Belgaon ( misprint 


Malgaon ) 




















Nargund ( Nawal- 


ghund ) 


No. of Tarafs is not given. 

Baramati and Indapur are named as Prants in the Zabta r 
but they are counted as Tarafs under Poona in the first list. 
Secondly, this list has Mahad in place of Betgiri in the Zabta. 

It is said in the 78th Doc. that there were six more Prants, 
but their names are not mentioned. Mi raj, Kadewalit, Hukeri 
( poc. 81 ) might be three of these in Maharashtra. Besides these 
thirty-five districts, there were provinces of the Karnatic and 
Southern India included in the Swaraj. This new conquest was 
divided into six military circles, but the number of civil districts is 
not known. 

It will be seen that Chitnis includes in the Military Circle of 
Thana such districts as Kalyan, Bhiyandi, Wai, Karad* Supe, 


Khatav, Baramati, Miraj, Kolhapur, and three sub-districts. It 
is now evident that the names of ' Prants ' mentioned by Chitnis 
were certainly not those of administrative districts. In my opinion* 
for military purposes the Swaraj was at one time divided into 
seventeen circles. The civil districts were surely different from 
these circles, though the word Prant has been loosely used for both*, 
Each Prant was divided into Tarafs and each Taraf into Mahals 
and these into villages called Maujas and Kasbas. Sometimes a 
Prant had Subas and then Tarafs, as Suba Dabhol under 

4. Civil officers The kingdom was divided into divisions, 
ach under a Sarsubedar. He was also styled Sarkarkun or 
Mukhya Deshadhikari. 

We read of Narhari Anandrao as Sarsubedar in the Konkan, 
probably with his capital at Kudal. 1 Moropant, Annaji Datto 
and Dattaji Anant are frequently mentioned as Sarkarkuns or 
Sarsubedars in the time of Shivaji. 

Each Prant was put under a Subedar and a Karkun, while the 
Taraf was governed by a Havaldar. A few villages were put under 
the charge of a Kamavisdar. The nomenclature prevalent in 
Muslim governments for civil officers was continued in the 
Swaraj. There were regular establishments or offices for the work 
of the officers. Each Subedar had generally eight assistants in 
charge of various duties. They were Dewan, Muzumdar, Fadnis, 
Sabnis, Karkhanis, Chitnis, Jamadar and Potnis. 8 

We learn from Dr. Fryer who had an interview with the 
Subedar of Kalyan that in his office many Brahmans were busy in 
writing account books and there were present some officers who 
were consulted by him as members of his Privy Council. On account 
of the authority of such a council, a governor could not be Very 

1. Raj. VIII, p. 22. 

2. Sen, Ad, $. It, p. 97. 


The administrative division? can now he represented thus : 
Division Sarsubedar 

Suba Subedar 

Pargana Sarhavaldar and Vatandars 

Taraf, Hawal Tarafdar, Hawaldar or ' 

or Mahal Mahaldar 

Union of villages Kamavisdar 

Mauza and Kasaba Patil 

Peth Sethe Mahajan 

A Subedar was named Deshadhikari and a Sarsubedar, 
Mukhya-Deshadhikari, while the Karkun was called Lekhak and 
the Sarkarkun, Mukhya-Lekhak. The Sanskrit names Introduced 
by Shivaji did not become popular. Through the force of custom 
old names continued to be used even in official documents. 

5. Dr. Fryer on Maratha Administration: A gloomy picture 
of the administration of Muslim and Maratha countries depicted by 
Dr. Fryer should be read on p. 145 of Vol. II. His experience was 
very much limited and he was bitterly prejudiced against the 
Grand Rebel. One can hardly believe that the Brahman officers 
tore the flesh of their brother officers with red-hot pincers and 
applied other tortures to extract money from them. 

It is possible that some officers guilty of corruption 
-extortion might have been tottured to extract confession. Otherwise 
Shivaji did not oppress Brahmans. 

These were under his special protection, (i) He was therefore 
given the title of the " Protector of Cows and Brahmans. (ii) He 
was adored as an Avatar of Vishnu who had taken birth for 
uprooting the barbpfian^ and for establishing the Hindu religion* 
(iii) He never mokfted Brahmans even in his looting expeditions. 
(iv) At the time of Afzal Khan's murder when Shivaji was attacked 
l>y the Brahmin envoy, he refused to U%B his weapons against him 


and asked him not to take advantage of his position as a Brahman*. 
(v) Docs. 24 of 1671 and 30 of 1674 in Rajwade VIII bring out the- 
principle of immunity of Brahmans from death. ' 

Fryer himself admits that Brahmans alone were put in places 
of trust and authority. 9 The whole hierarchy of civil officers was 
composed of Brahmans. Hence it is incredible that these very men 
would use inhuman means of torture against men of their own 

While Fryer condemns the Maratha administration, he frankly 
admits that it was not an exception to the general rule. All 
contemporary governments were of the saine type. " This is the 
accustomed Sawce all India over, the Princes doing the same by 
the Governors, when removed from their offices, to squeeze their 
ill-got Estates out of them ; which when they have done ; it may 
be they may be employed again ; the Great Fish prey, on the 
Little, as well by land as by Sea, bringing not only them, but 
their Families into Eternal Bondage." 3 

The Dutch have given a glimpse of the oppressive administration* 
prevalent in the Bijapur state. "Each Governor takes the appearance- 
of being a king, and after having committed divers crimes by 
robbing, murdering, burning and devastating the land to their hearts' 
content, they appear at court, where they are praised for being 
brave soldiers, if they know how to oil His Majesty's palm. This- 
practice is daily increasing more and more and has taken so very 
deep a root that the king ( who is simply adorned with the crown ) 
is unable to prevent this/ 14 On another occasion the Dutch factors 
reported that the government of this country was so unsettled and 
tyrannous that it was impossible to commit it to paper, 

Tavernier, Bernier, Manucci and other travellers have 
condemned the Mogul administration in unambiguous terms. But 
the standard of Shivaji's administration must have been much. 

1. Raj. VIII, pp. 20,26. 

2. Shivaji, Vol. II, p. 145. 

34, Sbiraji, Vol. I, pp.,509, 554, Vol. II, p. 146. 


superior to other governments on account of the important reforms 
introduced by him. 

6. Administrative reforms of Sbi?aji 

1. Hereditary posts as exceptions Shivaji attacked the 
radical cause of maladministration by not conferring hereditary 
jagirs and posts. Yet he was considerate in not discontinuing the 
Watans of the Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Kulkarnis, etc., or in 
abolishing religious endowments existent from his predecessors. 
He reduced the powers of the fief-holders. In a few cases he was 
compelled to confer hereditary grants and posts on account of the 
very meritorious services performed by a few officers. 

(l) Krishnaji Bhaskar was awarded a jagir for his meritorious 
service in the murder of Afzal Khan. (2) Babaji Baji was conferred 
jagir and the commandantship of all the forts held by his gallant 
father Baji Prabhu, the Leonidas of India, in lieu of the glorious 
service of his immortal father. 9 (3) The four Kolis who chose the 
place for building the Sindhudurg at Malwan were given hereditary 
grants of villages for their signal service in 1664. 3 (4) Ramchandra 
Pant, the conqueror of Fort Purandar from the Moguls, was given 
hereditary Sabnisi of the famous Sindhudurg Fort. (5) Balaji 
Avaji, his personal secretary, was granted hereditary secretaryship. 
(6) Koyaji Bandhal was granted lands for his brave exploit in 
"Shaista's surprise. 4 (7) His brother Vyankoji and his sister-in-law 
Dipabai were granted hereditary jagirs and so was their Minister 
and Shivaji's Viceroy Raghunathpant favoured with Inams in the 
Karnatic. 5 (8) Villages were granted in Inam to the Brahmans 
attached to the famous temples of the holy places of the Karnatic.* 
(9) Hambirrao Mohite, Santaji Ghorpade, Bahirji Ghorpade were- 
granted jagirs. 9 (10) The Ramdasi Maths of Chafal and Paili 
were granted villages for their expenses. Some of these continue 
up to this day. In a grant of 1677 there is a mention of eleven 
^villages, 121 candies cereals, and 1100 pagodas having been given 
to the Chafal Math. 

1. Shiyaji, Vol. II, p. 288; Yak. 146. 4. No. 63 Q, of B. I. S. M. 

2. Yak. 80. 3. Shivaji, Vol. II, 289. 

3. Chitragupta Cb. P. 132. t 6 & 7. Yak. 153. 130, 


Such instances are few and far between. In the long period of 
35 years from 1646 to 1680, Shivaji selected only a few persons for 
Inams out of the thousands of brave commanders and famous 
statesmen. This fact decidedly proves that these were exceptions 
to the general rule. In fact, we do not find the great men of this 
period founding families with hereditary lands. Netaji Palkar, 
Prataprao Gujar, Hambirao Mohite, Moro Pant Pingle, Dattaji 
Pant, Annaji Datto and host of other officers may be quoted as 
such instances. 

No new Inams Ramchandra Pant proceeds to argue against 
the grant of new Inams. 

" Hereditary estates should not be granted as this method 
leads to a great injustice. Only an enemy of his kingdom should 
be generous in granting Inams. This method would result one day 
in granting away the whole kingdom. All the evils pointed out 
above in the case of Vrittis invariably occur here. Therefore a 
king should not at all get infatuated and grant land to the extent of 
even a barley corn." One of his ablest ministers has thus described 
the evils of granting new pensions, Vrittis, and Inams, but at the 
same time he has prohibited kings from confiscating the ancient 
grants. In his opinion it is a great sin to confiscate any Vritti, 
hence it should neither he handed over to another nor be appropriated 
by the king himself. Even when a heinous crime is committed by 
the holder of a Vritti, his case should be decided according to the 
dictates of the Shastras. The main reasons advanced by him for 
not granting Vrittis may be said to be these : 

(a) Public revenue is reduced by such grants. It leads to 
the loss of the prosperity and therefore to the decay of the 

(b) Such grants result in the increase of taxes which oppress 
the people. " To cause affliction to a large number of people for 
the sake of one carries its own curse." 

(2) Selection of officers The devotion of officers to Shivaji 
was simply remarkable, although they were not given hereditary 
S. 6. 


and Jagirs. It was his personal charm, ever-smiling face, 
amiable manners, generosity, bravery, genius, resourcefulness, and 
humour which turned his foes into friends and devoted servants 
ever ready to lay down their lives for their master. The illustrious 
names of Moropant, Balaji Avji, Ramchandra Pant, Baji Prabhu, 
Murar Baji, Prataprao Gujar, Tanaji Malsure, Frangoji Narsala 
and a host of others can be written in letters of gold in the Maratha 

The main cause of this devotion may be said to be the 
recruitment and dismissal of officers by Shivaji himself. They were 
directly responsible to him. The feudal system had been abolished, 
and the central government had been strengthened by all possible 
means. Every officer was anxious to please the Raja by his devoted 

It is remarkable that even soldiers in the standing army were 
appointed with his approval. He had the genius to find out the true 
merits of his men and to give them sufficient scope to show their 
talents. He imposed full confidence in them, and they invariably 
proved faithful to him. Aurangzeb lived in an atmosphere 
of mistrust, suspicion, intrigue and faction. He sent on every 
expedition two commanders who generally envied and mistrusted 
each other. They were often faithless, venal and rapacious. Shivaji 
took full advantage of this weakness. He bombarded these officers 
with gold bullets. Jaswant Singh, Prince Muazzam and Bahadur 
Khan have been mentioned several times in this respect. The 
Bijapur generals were no better. Rustam Zaman and Siddi Jauhar 
are well-known examples. The commandants of several forts were 
bribed to give up the same to Shivaji. Not a single instance is 
recorded of a Maratha officer who gave up a fort to the enemy for 
the sake of money. On the other hand, Shivaji's officers were 
devoutly attached to him. 

(3) The third reform was the frequent transfer of officers from 
place to place, so that they should not create vested interests there, 
and the people should not suffer from tbeir autocracy. 


(4) The fourth means to improve the administration uurir 
freiinent inspection -tours. He himself and his ministers often 
used to go on tours of inspection. The necessity for such tours has- 
been briefly stated by the Raja himself. " No kingdom can be 
preserved long without constant touring and attention. For watching 
over the peasantry, strengthening the forts, and putting down 
oppressors it is necessary ( for the ruler ) to tour in his kingdom.' 
We read of Abaji Pant having gone on a tour of inspection before 
the death of Shivaji. Abaji Pant and Annaji Datto were, on another 
Occasion, appointed to inspect the forts. 

(5) The fifth means to systematize the government was the 
drawing up of an elaborate code of rules by Shivaji's order. The 
Tarikh-i-Shivaji records that 4 after he had satisfied himself about 
the regulation of the revenue and the administration, he called for 
the records of all the lands in his possession and inspected them.'* 

(6) The sixth reform may be said to be the removal of 
differences among officers and nobles by uniting their families by 
marital ties. For instance, Moro Pant Peshwa's daughter was 
given to Prahlad Pant, son of Niraji Pant ( Vak. 131 ). His own 
marriages with ladies belonging to distinguished Maratha nobles 
were for political reasons. The marriage of Rajaram with the 
daughters of the two commanders- in-chief shows the same policy. 

(7) The seventh cause of the good adminstriation is the 
employment of all classes in the service of the state. The educated 
classes of the time consisting of the Brahmans, Prabhus, Saraswats 
were entrusted with the civil and military administration by the 
Raja. The illiterate people of all castes and perferably the Marathas, 
were recruited as soldiers. Thus the masses and classes of 
Maharashtra were filled with his ideals and enthusiasm to promote 
and perpetuate the stability and prosperity of the swaraj. 

(8) The eighth cause of improved administration was Shiva's 
exemplary life. He did not allow any officer, companion or 
favourite of his to oppress the ryots. 3 There was no ciircle of 

13. Vak. Pp., 130. 131, 151. 153. 


sycophants surrounding Shivaji. He never wasted his time in idle 
gossips, hunting, racing, drinking, luxury, profligacy. He lived a 
life of rigorous discipline, exemplary simplicity, and high ideals. 
He devoted all his time, energy and resources to the protection and 
prosperity of his kingdom. 

(9) Shivaji recognized that the essential requisites of efficient 
government were the spirit of responsibility and the feeling of 
security of tenure. Consequently he devised means to vouchsafe 
these by the adoption of council government and the continuation 
of the services of efficient officers. 

(10) Lastly, Shivaji put a stop to corruption among officers 
by giving them high salaries. 

7. Growth of the Execotiie Council Shivaji was put 
under the guardianship of D. Konddeva and given four experienced 
administrators who formed his advisory council from 1642. These 
were Sham Rao Nilkanth as Peshwa, Balkrishna Pant Hanmanteas 
Mujumdar, Sono Pant as Dabir and Raghunath Ballal as Sabnis* 

They were confirmed in their posts even after the death of 
Konddeva in 1649. In that very year Shiva created the post of the 
Sarnobat or commander of the army. It was filled by Tukoji Chor 
^Maratha. Some time after the latter was replaced by Mankoji 
Dahatonde. After the conquest of Javli in 1655, four new posts 
were created and filled up as follows : 

Nilo Sondeva was appointed Surnis; Gangaji Mangaji, Vaknis; 
Prabhakar Dhat, Upadhyaya ; and Yesaji Kank, commander of 
the infantry. Dahatonde was replaced by Netaji Palkar as 
commander-in-chief. The year of his appointment cannot be traced 
with certainty. 

The title of Panditrao was conferred upon Raghunath Pao 1 
Korde who was sent as an envoy to Raja Jaisingh for negotiating 
1. Sen. Sb. Chh. 51. On p. 59 he is called Korde and brother-io-Uw of 
Soiaji Pant Dabir. 


peace in 1665 and was afterwards deputed to Aurangzeb himself.. 
Raghunath was included among the councillors called together by 
Shiva to consider the crisis during bis imprisonment at Agra, and 
he was sent to Jafar Khan, the Mogul Premier. 1 On his return 
from Agra he was made chief superintendent of public works and 
another R. Balal Atre was made a Subha of cavalry. 9 

Narahari Anandrao was appointed Peshwa in 1661. He 
was succeeded by Mahadeva Matimant in 1662 and in that year 
Moro Trimal or Trimbak was appointed. He continued in the post 
till the death of Shivaji. \Ve have documents with the seals of 
Samaraj and Mahadeva, but none of Narahari has as yet been 
recovered. 3 

It is rather strange that there are four grants of the years 1671 
and 1673 bearing the seal of Mahadeva Matimant Pradhan. 4 There 
is one letter of 1662 June and another of 1668 Oct. bearing the 
same seal. 

In 166S Nilopant Sondeva was appointed Mujumdar in place 
of Hanmante, and Annaji Pant as Surnis.* 

At that time the new office of chief justice was created and it 
was filled by Niraji Pant who is described as an intelligent 
Nizamshahi Brahman. He accompanied Shiva to Agra and was 
one of the four heroes who formed the small party of the Raja 
during his long flight from Agra to Rajgad. 

After the death of Gangaji Vaknis, the post was filled bjr 
Dattaji Pant, another hero of the romantic flight. He was reckoned 
as one of the councillors. The royal household troops were put 
under the able command of Ragho* Mitra, the third hero of the 
thrilling escape. 

Nilo Sondev was succeeded in his office in 1672 by his two 

1. Sen, Sh. Chh. Pp. 61, 64-65. 2. Chitnis, 171. 

3 ft 4. Sh. Ch. S. II. Nos. 219, 253-55. 346 of Jin, 1662. 

5. Chit 169; Sen, Sh. Chh;, 72, Raj. VIII. Doc. 10. 

6. Chit., 172. 


sons Naro Pant and Ramchandra Pant, but the latter alone who 
was considered to be a thousand times better than his father, was 
entrusted with the work of Muzumdar. ' 

Sometime before the coronation the post of Dharmadhikari 
Avas also created. It was filled by the two brothers Raghunath 
Bhat and Balam Bhat.' 

The number of the councillors was augmented after the 
coronation by the addition of the two ministers of Vyankoji Raje. 
They were Raghunath Narayan and Janardhan Narayan. There 
is no information as to the offices filled by them. They might be- 
ministers without portfolios, <J as they have been called Sarkarkuns. 

Shivaji changed their Persian titles to Sanskrit and specified 
the duties of the eight councillors and other departmental heads. 
Thus a portfolio system was introduced on the basis of the 
Sukraniti. The names and duties were largely adopted from Sukra's 

In the king's cabinet the Chief Priest and the Chief Justice 
are included by Sukra and the same was done by the crowned 
king of the Marathas. 

These Sanskrit names, however, did not become popular, so 
that even in the official letters written after the coronation the old 
names and the old Persian era persisted. 

The Chronicles make special mention of the council meetings 
at such crises as the invasions of Afzal Khan, Shaista Khan and 
Jaisingh, and during Shiva's imprisonment at Agra. Therefore the 
council did not come into existence after the coronation. Shivaji 
used to consult his ministers from the beginning of his rule. 4 

It has been seen that the executive council had been growing 
up from time to time with the extension of administrative needs* 

1. Sen, Sh. Cbh. 108. 

2. Cbitni* 170. 

3. Sen, Sh. Chh. 110, 119, 122. 

4. Sen. Sh, Cbh. 3, 4, 3. 8, 11. 13, 41, 49, 64. 


It assumed its final form of Eight Councillors ( Ashta Pradhans > 
.t the coronation. The old and new names of the posts and the 
r.ames of their occupants are given in a tabular form. 

Pott Sabhttad Ck. 

1. Pradhan ( Peshwa ) Moro Pant Trimbak 

2. Amatya ( Mujumdar ) Naro Nilkanth and 

Ramchandra Nilkanth 

3 . Senapati ( Sar Lashkar ) Hambirrao Mohite 

4. Sachiva ( Surnis ) Annaji Pant 

5. Mantri ( Vaknis ) Dattaji Trimbak 

6. Rajadhyaksh or | 

Dharmadhyaksh or r Raghunath Panditrao 

Panditrao I 

7. Sumant ( Dabir ) Ramchandra Trimbak 

8. Nyayadhisha Niraji Ravji 

9. Chitnis Bal Prabhu 

10. Daftardar Nila Prabhu Parasnis 

The names of the first six ministers are the same in the three 
chronicles. The post of Chief Justice was filled by Niraji Ravji f 
but according to Chitnis the occupant was Balaji Sonopant. Then 
the post of Dabir or Sumant was held by Janardan Hanmante 
according to Chitnis, while Chitragupta gives the name of 
Trimbak Sondeva. It is a pity that the name of the Dabir is not 
given by Oxinden, and hence the difference in the names given by 
the three Bakhars for the holders of this post, cannot be removed. 

8. Duties of the Mimters: Their duties specified by the Law 
Code ( Qanunzabta ) and Chitnis have been summarized below* 
The Peshwa was in charge of the whole administration of the 
kingdom. He was to work with the counsel and co-operation of 
his colleagues. In times of war he was to bravely lead the army, 
subjugate new kingdoms and make necessary arrangements for the 
administration of the newly-acquired territories. All state papers 
and charters had to bear his seal below that of the king. 

1. Sen, Sh. Chh. P. 116; Chitnis, 311, 331; Chitrag. Chronicle. 109. 


The Senapati (Commander-in-Chief) should properly maintain 
the army, make war and lead expeditions. He should preserve 
the newly-acquired territories, render an account of the sports, 
report to the king the requirements and grievances of the army, 
and obtain lands and rewards for the meritorious. 

The Amatya ( Finance Minister ) should look after the income 
-and expenditure of the whole kingdom and submit it to the Raja 
after auditing it. He should put his seal on all official letters and 
on the accounts of income and expenditure of the Mahals and the 
whole kingdom. 

The Sachiv ( Accountant General ) should see that all royal 

letters were properly drafted. He had to check trie accounts of the 

Mahals and Parganas. He had to put his seal on all royal papers 

-as a sign of his approval. lie was also to serve in war and lead 


The KJantn ( Political Secretary ) was to conduct the political 
and diplomatic affairs of the kingdom. The invitation and intelligence 
departments were under him. He was also to serve in war. His 
seal was to be put on official documents. 

The Sunuint ( Foreign Secretary) was in charge of foreign 
affairs, war and peace. He was to receive and entertain foreign 
envoys and maintain the dignity of the state abroad. He was also 
to serve in war and put his seal on state documents. 

The Panditrao ( the Koyal Priest ) was to have jurisdiction 
over all religious affairs. He was to honour scholars, Brahmans 
aad religious men. He was to get all religious ceremonies performed 
in due time. He was to put his sign of approval on all papers 
relating to custom, conduct and penances. 

The Nyayadhtsh ( the Chief Justice ) was to righteously decide 
all disputes about occupations and lands with the co-operation of 
officers and learned Brahmans. He was to put his signature on alt* 
judgment papers. 

f . FriBciple* M&rljrinf vmstcritl rmnnMt It is worth 
ntotftdog that all ministers were .Brahmans, only the Chief 


Commander was Maratha by caste. But all of them except the last 
two had to take the command of armies. Besides three of the 
ministers were Governors in charge of divisions, while the provinces 
or Subas were under Subedars. 

These ministers fully enjoyed the confidence of their master 
and were continued in their posts up to the end of his regime. 

It speaks volumes of the genius, patience, spirit of compromise 
of Shivaji that he should have continued the same officers on the 
same posts for years together. In case of proved inability, he 
removed the ministers as the Peshwa Mahadeva and the 
commander-in-chief Netaji Palkar, otherwise Moro Trimbak 
continued Peshwa for eighteen years up to the death of the great 
king. No change was made in the chief command of the army 
except on account of death. There was no re-shuffling of the 
cabinet from the coronation up to the death of the illustrious king. 

Secondly, he did not make these offices hereditary as they were 
done afterwards by the Peshwas. 

Thirdly, these officers were not given any jagirs, but salaries 
were paid to them in cash from the treasury. They had nothing to 
do with revenue collection and could not oppripss the ryots on 
account of their ministerial positions. Justice Rsbade has rightly 
stated that " none of the great men, who distinguished themselves 
in Shivaji's time, were able to hand over to their descendants iarge 
landed estates. 1 ' 

Fourthly, each of them was severally responsible for his 
portfolio, so far so that his secretary had the right to carry on the 
administration in the name of the chief. 

Fifthly, they were jointly responsible in carrying on the 
administration. All important parsers required the signatures of 
the ministers in charge of the civil administration, such as the 
Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Financial Secretary, the 
Home Secretary and the Foreign Minister. The judicial decisions 
-were signed by the Chief Justice alone and the Ecclesiastical 

S. 7. 


Decisions by the Minister in charge of the department, while th* 
army-papers were submitted to the chief commander. The Law 
Code ( Qanunzfibta ) and the Chitragupta Chronicle both lay down 
this rule of the circulation of important papers and the approval 
or disapproval of the five ministers. We have no papers on the 
working of the cabinet, but the ministers and in their absence the 
secretaries must have been meeting frequently to discuss important 
matters, so that they could put their seals of approval on them* 
That the treaty with the English was signed by all the ministers,, 
has been recorded by their envoy, Mr. Oxenden. Grants bore the 
seals of the Raja and the Prime Minister. 

10. The salaries of the Ministers: Chitnis ( Pp. 342*43 ) has 
given the following scale of salaries to the various officers. 

Prime Minister 15,000 Hons. 

Amatya 12,000 

Every other minister 10,000 

Balaji Avji Chitnis 6,000 

Cfaimnaji Avji Phadnis 3,000 

Officers in charge of 18 

Karkhanas and 12 Mahals 500 to 100 Hons. 

Military Commander 5000 to 4000 

Subordinate Officers 200 to 15 

The salaries of the ministers and the personal secretaries were 
very high. Fifty thousand to 75,000 rupees were paid to the cabinet 
ministers. Taking into account the value of money in those days, 
these salaries when expressed in to-day's rupee, seem to be 
excessively high. Thus peculation and corruption were cut at the 

11. The personal staff tf the kief The private secretary of 
Shivaji was the famous Balaji Avji or Bal Prabhu Chitnis and he 
was assisted by his brother Chimnaji Avji Phadnis a*d Nil Prabhu 
Parasnis. He used to submit all state papers to the Maharaja, 
was in charge of the private and personal correspondence of his 
royal master, and used to note down the hypnotic messages uttered 


by Shivaji during his ecstatic moods. All letters conferring any 
kind of Inara or Qauls to villages, towns, provinces, and new 
markets ; correspondence regarding jagirs and political intelligence, 
all passports, visas, and permits for opening Kothis ; all orders 
regulating the prices of things, and many other spheres of 
administration were in his charge. He was also to supervise the 
working of the mint and of the department to supply royal drinks. 9 

His services proved to be so meritorious that Shivaji was 
pleased to confer the posts of the Chitnis, Karkhanis and Jamnis on 
him and his successors. It was the only exception of a hereditary 
post made by the Raja. High posts were conferred on the sons of 
the ministers but only when they showed exceptional intelligence 
and merit for the same. Prahlad Niraji, son of the Chief Justice 
Niraji was appointed ambassador at the court of Qutub Shah. 
Nilo ( Naro ) Pandit, son of Moropant Peshwa, enjoyed the 
confidence of the Raja as is evident from Oxenden's letters. 

12. Minor Departments A few public departments like the 
mint, treasury, P. W. D., artillery, ammunition, elephant corps, 
camel corps were each under a hierarchy of officers. There were 
other departments serving the personal needs of the royal household. 
The Sabhasad, Chitnis and Chitragupta chronicles* give the names 
of eighteen Karkhanas and twelve Mahals. There are minor 
differences in the names of these in the Marathi chronicles. But 
the list given by Sabhasad may be taken to be typical. The 
names of the Karkhanas are : treasury, jewel-store, granary, 
medicines, artillery, record department, wardrobe, armoury, kitchen, 
camel -corps, music house, gymnasium, elephant stables, carpets 
and other accessories, drinks, hunting, ammunition-magazine, and 
conservancy. Then follow twelve Mahals: treasury, purchase 
of merchandise, palanquins, warehouse, P. W. D., chariots, 
horse-stables, provision of comforts, the harem, cow-sheds, mint* 
^od guards. 

1. Sea. M.S.M. 64-71. 

2. Sabbasad-San, Sh, Chh. 133. CfcttaiB, pp. 170-71. Ctfeftu, p.120, 


The Hindu kings possessed thes ( e institutions from very earty 
times. Kautilya has given detailed information on the nature and 
scope of many of these departments. The names and duties changed 
with circumstances, but the fundamental institutions remained alive 
through ages, till they were adopted by Muslim kings. The 
Ain-i-Akbari supplies information about the departments possessed 
by Akbar, the Great Mogul. 

The detailed list of articles which were found in store at the 
time of the death of Shivaji, brings out the real significance of the 
existence of such departments. It is worth noticing that Shivaji 
had departments to look after the manufacture of guns, cannon, 
gunpowder, and various kinds of arms, weapons, cloths and carpets. 

There were separate departments for managing the affairs of 
cows, horses, camels, and elephants. 

For physical culture and recreation gymnasium and hunting 
arrangements were provided. The household needs were looked 
after by the departments of Zanana, kitchen, drinks, medicines* 
wardrobe, granary, carpet-making, provision of comforts, warehouse, 
chariots, palanquins, guards, etc. Each one of these departments 
was managed by its officers under the supervision of one of the 
Councillors. Thus Shivaji had not to directly manage any 
department. He was free to control the policy, to appoint officers 
and to test the working efficiency of the departments. 

Finally, we should examine the nature and powers of Shivaji's 
Council of Eight. 

13. Comparison ef the Astia PraAait to tk Eiecrirt Codt> 

The assertion of the late Justice Ranade that Shivaji's council 
resembled the Executive Council of the Governor General of India, 
is cot based on facts. There is no real resemblance between the two 
councils. (1) The Councillors are appointed by the King-Emperor 
and are irremovable by the Governor General. . Shivaji was free 
to choose and remove his ministers according to hie sweet will* 
<2) All important questions are decided by a majority of votes, tb* 


Governor General enjoys a casting vote. He can veto the 
decision of his Council, but is required by law to put down id 
writing his reasons for rejecting the decision of the majority. 
Similarly, every Councillor has got the right* to note his reasons 
for the advice given by him. All the papers are sent to the Secretary 
of State for India. For all these reasons the Governors General 
have very rarely used their vetoing power. The Government of 
India is a council-government in name and deed, but Shivaji 
was an autocratic king with no restrictions upon his powers by 
his ministers. (3) These Councillors are not required to take 
command of armies, nor do they work as governors of provinces 
and councillors at .the same .time. (4) There is no question of caste 
and creed among the Viceroy's Councillors. Shivaji's cabinet 
consisting of seven Brahmans and oue Maratha Commander-in- 
-Chief, signified the supremacy of Brahmans. 

Thus there are radical differences between the two Councils. 
Yet it must be noted that in the presidential form of government 
prevalent in the U. S. A., the ministers work as secretaries of the 
head of the state. Being appointed tad dismissed by him at hie 
discretion, they are not his colleagues but his subordinates. 
However, a sense of responsibility is maintained among them by 
having their signatures on important papers. This practice adopted 
by Shivaji acted as a check upon his autocratic powers and infused 
a sense of responsibility in the ministers. The people too respected 
them as the colleagues of the Raja, because no important orders 
could be issued without the signature of the minister in charge and 
even of a few other ministers. The principles of collective and 
individual responsibility of ministers to the ruler were partially* 
recognized by the system adopted by Shivaji. 

The Military System 

I. Evils of the Moilim Military tyiten The administrative 
reforms secured peace, prosperity, and progress in the Maratha 
Swaraj. These could be maintained only by a most efficient military 
organization. The feudal armies of the Deccan Sultans and the 
Mogul Emperors were expensive and inefficient instruments of 
warfare. In these volumes we have sufficient side-lights on the 
evils of the contemporary military systems. 

(i) The feudal lords were given extensive territories for the 
upkeep of the armies. Being anxious to enrich themselves in the 
shortest possible time, they resorted to unbridled terror, oppression 
and exploitation. The ryots were left to their minions who like 
vultures ate away the possessions of the poor. 

(ii) The nobles were often disloyal to the ruler and secretly 
allied themselves with his enemies. The instances of Rustam 
Zaman, Bahlol Khan, Bahadur Khan and others joining Shivaji are 
frequently found. 

(iii) These lords were mutually fighting and even secretly 
murdering each other. The assassination of Jadhavrao, Khawas 
Khan, Murari Pandit* Siddi Jauhar, Ikhlas Khan, Sher Khan, and 
another Khawas Khan. Khizar Khan, are some of the instances 
mentioned in the volumes. . 

(iv) The feudal armies did not consist of properly trained and 
equipped soldiers, but these were levies of haphazardly recruited 
soldiers, with .whatever arms and horses were possessed by them, 
Such a militia poorly clad, ill armed, badly trained, and full of 
mercenary spirit did not fight for the defence of the flag, religion 
or country. These soldiers could be no match to a trained army 
figbtinff for religious and national ideals. 

(v) *fhe feudal armies were officered by untrained men who 
were not actuated by bigfaer motives. They wanted to saire their 


skins. Bernier ' rightly observed that the Mogul Omrahs were 
mostly adventurers from different nations, and persons of low 
descent, some having been originally slaves. The king was 
surrounded by slaves, ignorant and brutal; parasites raised from 
the dregs of society ; strangers to loyalty and patriotism ; full of 
insufferable pride, and de$titute of courage, of honour and of 
decency. Hence these could be easily bought off or defeated by the 
national armies of Shivaji. 

( vi ) Dependence upon cavalry and elephants was the mainstay 
of the system. Both these arms were useless in the rugged and 
mountainous regions of Maharashtra. 

( vii ) The extension of the Jagir system and its concomitant 
evil of defrauding the state in the strength of the militia to be kept 
by each mansabdar, adversely affected the efficiency of the army. 

( viii ) An immense amount of money was needed for an 
incredibly large army which was maintained for keeping the people 
m subjection. Then an enormous sum was required to maintain 
the splendour of the royal court. The people were subjected to an 
indescribable oppression. In the words of Bernier " in the Indies 
the gold and silver disappear in consequence of the tyranny of 
Timariots, Governors, and Revenue contractors a tyranny which 
even the monarch, if so disposed, has no means of controlling in 
provinces not contiguous to his capital a tyranny often so excessive 
as to deprive the peasant and artisan of the necessaries of life, and 
leave them to die of misery and exhaustion * a tyranny owing to 
which those wretched people either have not children at all, or 
'have them only to endure the agonies of starvation, and to die at a 
tender age-a tyranny, in fine, that drives the cultivator of the soil 
from his wretched home to some neighbouring state." ' 

( ix ) The Mogul camps were slowly moving cities with afr 

the encumbrances of women, children, beasts of burden, and a 

.numerous host ol servants to look to the comforts of the men oC afl 

ranks from the officers down to the * ordinary trooper. Vivid 

1-3. Itartlt in the Mogul Empire, pp. *i2,' 226, 230. 


descriptions of the march of the armies are given by Tavernier, 
Bernier, Manucci, and others. An interesting account of the march 
of Shaista Khan's army and its plight by the guerilla tactics of the 
Maratha army * bring out the weakness of the Mogul and the 
strength of the Maratha army. Small kingdoms could be easily 
conquered by sheer numbers and inexhaustible resources of the 
Mogul empire. Shivaji had the extraordinary genius to realize the 
ills of the Muslim armies and to take full advantage of these by his 
novel and effective military organization. 

The founder of the Maratha Empire fully realized the serious 
defects of the feudal levies and therefore he overhauled the whole 
military machine. His army consisted of the royal guards, cavalry, 
infantry, militia, elephant corps and camel corps. The forts formed 
a most crucial factor of the strength of the military machine. Lastly, 
the navy and merchant marine were added to the land forces. 

Each one of these will be separately taken up to give a detailed 
view of the working and of the reforms introduced by Shivaji, the 
great military genius of the time. 

2, Royal Bodyguards Shivaji soon realized the importance 
of possessing special troops to protect his hody and to be of prime 
support to him in times of emergency. For this purpose only those 
who were brave, strong, obedient and faithful were personally 
selected by him. While inspecting the country, the army or the 
forts, he was on the lookout for such men that their very name 
would inspire terror and admiration in the army and the people. 
These tried men were to be employed for the protection of the 
Raja's person and as guards at the gates of the royal residence and 
court They formed a fourfold force of musketeers, spearmen, 
light-armed men, and artillery men in both the cavalry and infantry. 9 
The vital importance of this force is pointed out by Ramachandra. 
in his Polity. Very strict discipline was to be kept among these 
troops. No weakness was to be shown in punishing indiscipline 
and treachery in them oat of any consideration. 

1. Shtaji,PartH,77-*0. 

2, Sen, Sh, Cbb. 76-77; Ramacbacdra, Polity, Pp. 20-22, 


There were six different units of these Patak$ ( Body-guards ) 
-consisting of 100, 60 A and 60 B, 40, 30, and 20 soldiers acd known 
by these numbers. The special force consisted of two thousand to 
two thousand and five hundred men. They were given by the 
government uniforms consisting of embroidered turbans for the 
head, jackets of broadcloth for the body, two gold bracelets for the 
hands, gold and silver rings to be put on their sword-sheaths, 
silver-rings for the guns and spears, and a pair of ear-rings for 
themselves. These were put under the charge of Jumledars and a 
Kazan officer. Whenever the Raja went out, they used to march 
on four sides of his palanquin or horse. 

We have a view of these troops in the picture given by 
Manucci. 1 The Raja is shown on the march. His personal troops 
are clothed in a uniform of long togas stuffed with cotton. Each 
one of them has got a Tilak on the forehead probably to signify his 
readiness to die for the king. 

The extraordinary alertness and bravery of one of his 
bodyguards was shown in cutting off the hand and head of the 
assassin at Surat when he made a dastardly attack on the Raja. 
Another view of the march of the army is given by the Rajapur 
Knglishmen when they waited to meet Shivaji on the way. They 
saw abundance of horse and foot and 150 palanquins carrying him 
and his officers. It is a pity that the English factors were so much 
engrossed in their immediate business that they did not at all 
Describe the Maratha army. 1 

A Dutch factor who had the honour of several times speaking 
with the Golconda Sultan, was an eye-witness of the visit of 
Shivaji to that city in August 1676. The Raja is said to retire in 
z. litter embellished on every side with sheets of massive gold 
rtccompained by eight outriders and 30 chaise-bearers. This 
Dutchman records that Shivaji had no doubt of the fidelity of his 
troops and especially of his bodyguards. He testifies to the 
discipline in the Maratha army in these words : " Whilst they 
1-2. Shivaji, Part III, pp. 32, 56-60. 

S. 8. 


( the Sultan and Shivaji ) were thus talking, the place was 
surrounded by 6,000 cavalry who approached so silently that the 
buzzing of a fly could have been heard. It was thus that th* 
brigand made known to the world that like a second Masaniello he 
was as much beloved as respected by his subjects." * 

3. State Cavalry and Militia The cavalry was of two tjpes: 
(1) the Paga belonging to the state, and (2) the Siledars or 
horsemen possessing their o^n horses as well as arms, but accepting 
service under the state for some time. The state-cavalry was 
organized in units of 25 troopers ^bo were under an expert Maratba 
Hawaldar. Each unit had a water-carrier and a farrier attached 
to it. Five Hawalas made up a Jumla and its officer was a 
Jumledar. Ten Jumlas consisting of 1,250 troopers made up a 
Hazar ( Thousand ). The commander was styled a Hazari. His 
office-establishment consisted of a Brahman Mujumdar, a Matatba 
Secretary, a Prabhu Jamnis and a number of cleiks. A group of five 
Hazaris was commanded by a Panch Hazari, an officer possessing 
the title of Five Thousand. Three civil officers of the above- 
mentioned titles were also attached to him. All the Panch Hazari 
generals were directly under the Sarnaubat or Ccmmander-in-Chief. 

Each battalion of 1,250 horsemen had newswriters or Vaknis 
( Vaq'navis ), couriers and spies. AH these were appointed by the 
Commander-in-Chief. The chief officer of the Detectives was the 
famous Bahirji Jadhav of a thousand exploits. 

All officers were paid decent salaries as shown below: 
Jumledar over 125 troopers 500 pagodas and a palanquin. His 
accountant 100 to 125 pagodas. 

A Hazari over 1,250 troopers 1 ,000 pagodas, a palanquin 
and other accoutrements of honour. 

His Accountant, Secretary and Jamnis got 500 pagodas besides 
a palanquin was given to each. 

The emoluments of the Commander- in -Chief are not mentioned 

1. Eng. Records, II, 350. 


The organization of the other type of cavalry consisting of 
Siledars was exactly of the same kind. They were also under the 

4. Training of the Cavalry: Arrangements were made to keep 
the cavalry in cantonements during the rainy season. Hence 
sufficient stores of grains, fodder, medicines, etc., were preserved* 
,Houses for men and stables for horses were provided. Tiros 
Shivaji had a regular cavalry in bis service, and he looked to its 
comforts, efficiency and discipline. It was maintained on a new- 
system in opposition to the feudal system of the Moguls. The 
nobles of the Delhi Empire were interested in cutting down the 
expenses of the cavalry under their charge. The troopers were 
recruited as occasion arose. Hence there was no regular training- 
of troopers, and no regular breeding studs for horses were in 
existence. All was confusion, corruption and inefficiency. A 
description of the Mogul cavalry by Tavernier, Bernier, Manned 
irnd others clearly brings out these defects. 

5. The Infantrj: This branch of the army was mainly 
recruited from the Ma walas. The ascend ing grades were as follows:-' 
Names of Officers Names of Infantry Units 
One Naik or Corporal over a squad of 10 men. 

Hawaldar or Sergeant a half company of 

5 Naiks or 50 men. 

One Jumledar or Captain over a company of Hawalas 

or 100-150 men. 

One Hazari or Brigade over a battalion. 

One Sarnaubat or Commander- ... over seven Hazaris. 

Their salaries are given as under: 

Jumledar 100 pagodas Hazari Commander ... 500 pagodas 

His Secretary... 40 His Secretary ...100-125 

6. Strength ef the tray: From the Dutch documents we 
team that in 1660 Sbivaji had 3,000 soldiers at Panhala with Ipim. 


He must have distributed some forces for the protection of 
conquered places. A force of 4,000 foot and 7,000 horse was 
despached to reinforce the captain who had captured Kudal. The 1 
latter must have originally got some three to four thousand soldiers 
under him. Then a flying army of sixteen thousand picked, men 
under Netaji was harassing the march of the grand army of Shaista 
Khan. Another flying army was threatening Bijapur and trying to 
decoy Siddi Jauhar from Panhala. This flying force might be 
composed of some seven thousand men. We have to take into 
consideration the garrisons left in such strong fortresses as Purandar, 
Javli, Pratapgad, Rajgad, Sinhagad, Khelna, Rangana, Chakan, 
Vasota, Lohgad, etc. It is evident that the whole active army of. 
Shivaji could not be less than sixty thousand in 1660 l A. D. 

It is said on P. 480 of Part II that Shivaji had as strong an 
army as the Bijapur King had given to Siddi Jauhar which was. 
16-20 thousand horse and 35-40 thousand foot. In other words, 
the strength of the Raja's army varied from 50 to 60 thousand men 

in 1660 on the strength of Dutch evidence. 

Shivaji must have increased the army with the expansion of 

his kingdom and financial resources. The Siledars were raised to 
8,000 just after Afzal's death. Netaji Palkar was sent with 15,000 
horse and 12,000 foot to make depredations in the Mogul territory 
in 1661. Shivaji is said to have 50,000 foot and 10,000 horse in 
camp during the rainy season of 1664. 

He must ha\e got about 500 x 35 = 17,500 men more in the 
thirty-five forts under him at that time. He started with 30,000 
soldiers in 1670 against the Moguls. A few months later, he is 
reported to have marched with 10,000 horse and 20,000 foot tp 
surprise Surat.* He marched with 15,000 horse, 14,000 foot, and 
10,000 labourers against Phonda in 1675; with 15,000 horse and 
30,000 foot against Konkan in 1676, and with 40,000 horse and 
40,000 foot in 1677 on the Karnatic expedition. This army was on 

1. Shivaji, Part II, Pp. 78, 479, 483, 485. 

2. Ibid, pp. 117, 241, 365. 


the whole newly recruited. The best and bravest soldiers were 
left behind with Moro Pant to defend the kingdom. 1 We have 
to add the garrisons which were permanently kept for the defence 
of the forts and the country. 

In Nov. 1678 he had concentrated 15,000 horse and 20,000 
foot at Panhala alone. In 1679 Shivaji was about Malkapnr with 
20,000 horse; one of his generals plundered Dharangaon, Chhapra, 
tc., with 12,000 horse, another force of the same strength appeared 
ear Aurangabad. Thus more than 40,000 horse were in the field 
in one province. Then Moro Pandit had another force of 20,OOO 
strong, 9 while Shivaji himself returned with another army to 
kis capital* 

At the end of his life the strength of his cavalry is stated by 
Sabhasad to be 45,000 regulars and 60,000 irregulars, 9 while 
Chitnis changes the proportion to 80,000 regulars and only 25,OOG 
irregular Siledars. 

It is evident now that the figures of the Sabhasad and Chitnis. 
Chronicles are not unreliable ; 4 that the infantry preponderated 
ver the cavalry in Shivaji's army, and that he devoted very great 
personal attention to the efficiency, discipline, recruitment, payments 

rewards of the army. 

7. The relative strength of the orrilry tod iafatrj : The 

Moguls were in need of more horsemen than foot soldiers, since 
the former were mostly useful in the distant expeditions to Kabul 
and Kandahar, to Assam, Gujerat or Sind, and to the Deccan. 
The infantry was mainly employed on garrison duty in the numerous 
forts and palaces. The Deccan monarchs, following the Moguls, 
had a preponderance of cavalry over the infantry. In fact, all the 
military grades were based upon the number of horses commanded 
13. Vakasfcar, 138; Sbiraji, Part II, 287; Part III, 137, 177, 211-1^ 

' 4. Rawlinsorrs statement that Sbiraji's usual striking force was about 
HIJOOO troops of all arms, is a gross underestimate ( Shivaji, p. 91 ). Fryer 
(? that Shivaji had 30,090 horsemen and footxaea innumerable. 


by the officers. The distinguished historian Baldaeus records that 
the forces of the Bijapur-King consisted of 1,50,000 horse and 
only 8,000 foot. 1 

Shivaji did not require cavalry in the mountainous country and 
in the inaccessible forests of the Sahyadri range. His numerous 
forts needed, a large force of brave foot soldiers. Moreover, the 
cavalry was far more costly than the other arm. Besides, horses 
were difficult to obtain in Maharashtra. 

For the first fifteen years he was mainly, if not exclusively, 
devoted to the rerrmnntf, equipping and training of the infantry. 
His military genius, personal bravery, organizing capacity, 
charming personality, all combined to produce a self-confident, a 
loyal, and an almost invincible army from the poor, ignorant, simple, 
but hardy and sturdy Mawalas and other mountaineers. 

He specially devoted himself to the recruiting and training ot 
the cavalry after his victory over Afzal Khan. With the enormous 
wealth captured in his camp and the loot obtained in the subsequent 
depredations he could swiftly increase his military strength in all 
arms. The triumph of Shivaji in 1660 was really a turning point 
in his life. The growth of the cavalry was subsequent to the 
wealth obtained after the memorable victories over the Bijapur 
generals. It was necessitated by the invasion of Shaista Khan. 

In the military forces organized by Shivaji, the infantry 
predominated over the cavalry. This fact is clear from the figures 
given in the previous section. At the end of his career, he is said 
to have a lakh of foot soldiers, recruited, equipped, and paid by the 
state, though the 91 Q. Chronicle raises the figure to two lakhs.* 

8. The excellence of his cavalry The excellence of the light 

Maratha cavalry has been fully brought out by the numerous wars* 

expeditions, depredations and guerilla tactics described in this work. 

The pomp, luxury, magnitude and cum berousness of the camps of 

I. A Description of the E India Coasts, p. 602 ( London 1703 ), 

a. vak. 


the Mogul commanders like Shaista Khan, Diler Khan, Bahadur 
Khan and the Mogul princes, have also been frequently detailed in 
the writings of Da Guarda, Abbe Carre, Manucci, etc. 

It has been truly concluded by Vincent Smith that if Akbar 
had had the misfortune to encounter the Maratha light horse, it is 
possible that he might not have fared much better than his great 
grandson did. Akbar's military organization had in it the seeds of 
decay and failure. 1 

Without tents and equipage, without provisions and other 
commissariat encumbrances, without heavy artillery, the light 
Maratha infantry and cavalry moved with lightning speed from 
place to place. The soldiers and horsemen gathered their provisions 
as they went along. Their diet must have been of the poorest kind. 
They could hardly have time and opportunity to relish dainties and 
luxuries. These simple rustics subject to all the inclemencies of 
the climate of different parts in their long expeditions to Khandesh, 
Berars, and Southern India, performed deeds of heroism, sacrifice, 
patriotism which won them the admiration of the world. Dr. 
Fryer keenly observed the difference between the Muslim and 
Maratha armies and remarked : " Sevaji's men thereby being 
fitter for any Martial Exploit, having been accustomed to Fare 
Hard, Journey Fast, and take little Pleasure. But the other will 
miss of a Booty rather than a Dinner; must mount in state and 
have their arms carried before them, and their Women not far 
behind them, with the Masters of Mirth and Jollity ; will rather 
expect than pursue a Foe ; but then they stand it out better ; for 
Sevagi's Men care not much for a pitched Field, though they are 
good at Surprizing and Ransacking ; yet agree in this, that they 
are both of stirring spirits." 

The fighting strength of the army was maintained by strict 
discipline. Dr. Fryer also observed that Shivaji did not permit 
" whores and dancing wenches in his army," nor did he allow 
drinks and intoxicants to be taken by his soldiers. Thus all officers 
as well as men lived a life of Spartan simplicity like the Maharaja 
1. Akbar the Great Mogul, p. 368. 


himself. Abbe Carre observes that " he greatly cherished the 
officers whom he called his brothers and friends, living familiarly 
with them, and attending to their needs wit hall distinction, he did 
not give anything to himself. He conducted himself with such 
ability, not affecting anything, and proposing through others the 
things to which he appeared aloof, and ( but ) which he desired 
at bottom." ' Further, "Shivaji who being always at the head of 
his troops, knew not pleasure. 1 ' ' 

The evidence of Dr. John F. G. Careri * ( 1695 A. D. ) is 
worth recording here : " This Shivaji is so powerful, that he 
maintains war at one ami ihe same time with the great Mogul and 
the Portuguese. T!e bungs into the field 50,000 Horse, and as 
many or more For 4 , much better soldiers than the Moguls, for 
they live a clay upon a piece of dry bread, and the Moguls will 
march on with eaFe ( arrying women, abundance of provisions and 
tents so that their army looks like a moving city." 

9. Training of the army: Shivaji was one of those rare rulers 
who devoted much attention to the regular training of the soldiers. 
Here is the testimony of Abbe" Carr : " He had in his troops many 
young men still novices in the business whom he had assembled 
from all sides. In order to accustom them, he encamped for nearly 
three months on a level plain, training them to manage horses and 
to fight, and forming them with care in all the exercises of the 
military art." 8 

This confirms the statements of the Marathi chronicles about 

the training of the soldiers in the cantotements and in the forts* 

It is said by Carre that the Raja used to choose a most beautiful 

place, most abounding in forage, for making his army encamp and 

for giving it leisure and comfort to refresh itself. 4 

Shivaji had regular studs in several places. One of these was 
at Mahad Korigao, the other was near Junner, and the third 
B**r Surat. 

I. Hist Misc., pp. 49. 55. 2. A Voyage Round the World. 

3-4. Hist. MiK., pp. 45,57. 5. Yak. 89. 


10. Army regulations of Sbivaji maybe stated on the evidence 
of Sabhasad to be as follows: 

1. During the rainy season the army was stationed i- 

2. The commissariat officers were to provide houses for men 
and stables for horses, and keep sufficient grains, fodder and 
medicines in store. 

3. The army was employed on some expedition after 
celebrating the Dasrah festival. 

4. Then an inventory of the belongings of all men ready to 
march out was made. 

5. For eight months these forces were to subsist on provisions 
obtained in the territories of the enemy. 

6. No women, female slaves, or dancing girls were to be 
taken with the army. Those who kept them were to be capitally 

7. Women and children were not to be captured anywhere. 

8. Cows were not to be captured, but bullocks could be 
requisitioned for transport service. 

9. Brahmans \\ ere not to be molested nor were they to be 
admitted as surities. 

10. No one was to commit adultery. 

11. On return from an expedition, an inventory of the loot 
:*nth every sepoy was to be made. All cash and articles over 
and above the salary due to a sepoy were taken for the state. 

12. All officers were to present gold, jewels, valuable clothes 
and commodities to the Raja. Accounts were rendered to him, 
and sums due from the treasury for pay and other charges were 
to be taken by them. 

13. Men guilty of violating the rules or charged .with 
cowardice, were to be tried by a military court and the offenders 
were to be duly punished. 

S. 9. 


W get glimpses of the observance of these rules in the 
preceding pages and in some Marathi documents. Strict discipline 
prevailed in the army on its march to Golconda. Inventories, 
of the loot at Rajapur, Hubli, Chhapra, Dharangaon, etc. are 
referred to several times in these pages. 

Shivaji was much distressed at the news of the Chiplun people 
being harassed by the troops encamped there. He issued these 
instructions to the officers. " If articles are forcibly taken away 
from the cultivators, they would desert the place. Some would 
die of starvation, and your presence would be more unwelcome 
than that of the Moguls, Do not give ryots the least trouble. 
Whatever is wanted by the soldiers should be purchased from the 
market with money given you from the Government treasury. 
Violence should not be offered to any one on any account." * 

Shivaji did not encumber his army with beasts of burden to 
supply provisions. Spare horses were led in the cavalry to take 
the place of those which died on the expeditions. Similarly, pack 
animals were taken to bring back the booty. But there was nr> 
other hinderance which was experienced by Mogul commanders tr> 
supply commodities for the camp bazars. Caravans consisting of 
thousands of bullocks Were led by Baftjaries tor the supply of 
provisions to the Mogul army. The movements of the Muslim 
armies were consequently slow and ineffective. 

11, Spies and scents: The detective department was the 
backbone of the administration. The Maratha spies were found 
in tbe army, navy, civil departments, and camps. They were 
scattered over the whole country and in the territories of the other 
rulers. These spies supplied minute information on the questions 
entrusted to them. For Sbivfrjl had complete information atom 
the housfesof the rich merchants of Sufat, ftubli, Dham&fcatt, 
Chhapra and other cities plundered by him. He even knew where 
the treasures were concealed in the houses. Therefore he could 
pillage large cities in two or three days and depart with bis booty 
1. R> VIII, doc, 23-25. 


to other places. The Raja had to outwit Aurangzeb, the prince of 
wiles, and outdo his extensive system of espionage. Then he is 
said to have himself visited Surat in the guise of a fakir before he 
launched upon his lightning expedition against the richest port of 
the Empire in 1664. It is said that the Sadhus in charge of 
Ramdasi maths used to play the part of spies, and this religious 
order was of immense help to Shivaji in his administration. 

A few principles of the military organization evolved by 
Shivaji are mentioned by Martin, the French Governor of 
Pondicbery from personal knowledge obtained by visiting the 
Maraiha camp. "His camp is without any pomp and unembarrassed 
by baggage or women. There are only two tents in it, but of a 
thick simple stuff, and very small, one for himself and the other 
for his minister. The horsemen of Shivaji ordinarily receive two 
pagodas per month as pay. AH the horses belong to him and he 

entertains grooms for them Ordinarily there are three hordes 

for every two men, which contributes to the speed \\hich he 

usually makes This Chief pays his spies liberally, which 

has greatly helped his conquests by the correct information which 
they give him." 

12. Rewards for military service: Sabhasad has recorded the 
rewards distributed by Shivaji among his army after the destruction 
of Afzal Khan's forces. Further, as Kahnoji Naik Jedhe performed 
splendid service in annihilating Afzal's army, he was given the 
First Honour of the Sword in 1659. Kavji Kodhalkar and Waghoji 
Tupe were rewarded for their service during the same war by being 
appointed commanders of 1,000 foot in 1660 ( J. Ch. ) 

Shivaji conferred the title of Panch Hazari on two great 
military officers, one Makaji Anand Rao, a natural son of Shahji 
and the other Vyankoji Datto, a Brahman military leader. 

During Shivaji's flight to Khelna Randal's men fought 
magnificently and many died fighting for the Raja, hence the First 
Honour of the Sword was transferred to Bandal, and Jedhe was 
placed in the second rank. 4 ( J. Ch. ) 


Kartoji Gujar was made Sarnaubat with the title of Prataprao r 
Prince of Valour. Since that time he was known to the world as 
Prataprao Gujar. Similarly, Hansaji Mohite was decorated with 
the title of Hamir Rao. Anand Rao who acted as commander- in-chie f 
after the heroic death of Prataprao, was honoured with the highest 
title of Haft Hazari according to Chitnis and Hasam Hajari 
according-to Sabhasad. One Surya Rao Kankde who fell at the 
battle of Salhir, had the title of Panch Hazari. Hazariship ' was 
conferred upon Ram Dalvi, Tan Savant, Admiral Ibrahim Khan, 
Ramaji Pangera, Mai savant, Santaji Raje and many others* 

Civil or military officers were given palanquins, horses, 
elephants, and even banners and drums to maintain their status 
with magnificance. 

It appears that there was an honorary or titular post of Sena 
Saheb Subha- Major General of the whole army. In 1664 it was 
conferred by the Raja upon his half-brother Parsoji. 

13. Feudal forces: Although Shivaji's greatest work was 
the abolition of feudal traditions, still hereditary Watandars, 
Deshpandes, Deshmukhs and others continued to enjoy a part of 
their incomes. The few armed attendants in their service could 
naturally be summoned in times of emergency. This militia served 
as a reserve force for all contingencies. The contemporary Muslim 
rulers mostly depended upon their feudal levies, but Shiva did not 
rely upon the inefficient, irregular, indisciplinecl troops haphazardly 
raised by a feudal baron for himself or for the Raja. These forces 
were, however, occasionally used ; for instance, Moro Pant was 
called to the battle-field of Salhir from the Konkan where he had 
gone at the head of the Hasams or militia. Similarly, an important 
battle was fought by a Hazari officer of the militia with 
Diler Khan.' 

14. Arm and Weapons: The army was generally equipped 
with arms and weapons like swords, daggers, scimitars, straight 

1. 50o, Sh. Cbb, pp. 85, 97, 102, 104. 106, 126. 148; Vak. P.' 123. 

2. Sen, Sh. Chb., pp. 102*103, 


rapiers, spears, poniards, spears with a string, bombs, bows 
and arrows, match-locks, coats of mail, head armours, helmets, 
cloth-covers, body-armours, armours for horses and elephants, 
grenades, and other weapons.^ Rockets and carbines were 
used by the Mar at ha army in a battle with Kb a was Khan 
{ Shivaji, Part II, 528 ). We read of hurling fiery-arrows and 
stones ( Ibid., p. 28 ). 

He gathered together the infantry by collecting foot-soldiers * 
from the Maval territory, light 9 - armed men, spearmen * 
swordsmen, 4 camp-guards,* match-lockmen,* musketeers, 7 
foot-soldiers* from the Karnatic, Torsali,* Jangade, 10 and 
ichers. 1 J 

He made fit and ready the moving artillery * 9 by collecting* 
small 19 cannon, long-range 14 guns, cannon 15 carried on elephants, 
guns 16 carried on camels, mortars 17 placed on big carts, and 
men 1 * with some kind of cannon. The kingdom was thus kept 
well protected and made prosperous. 

15. The camel corps ind elephant corps were small units. The 
former is said by Chitnis < P. 186) to be from 1,000 to 1,500 
strong. Camels were required to carry guns, luggage and post, 
while elephants were used for dragging heavy guns and baggage or 
were kept as ornamental appurtenances to palaces, mansions and 
forts, Sabhasad has given the number of elephants male, female 
and young to be 1,260 at the end of Shivaji's regime, while Chitnis 1 * 
reduces the number to 350 only. Out of these about one hundred 
mere kept for state use, while the rest were given to nobles and the 
artillery department. Shivaji is said to have captured 65 elephants, 

$ Their respective names in Marathi are; ; 

I. Mavals. 2. Adavas. 3. Itekari. 4. Pattaits. 5. Bankaits. 6. Bandukis. 
?, Torsandajs. 8. Kanades. 9. Torsali. 10, Jangade. 11. Tirandaja. 12. 
Tophkhana. 13. Ramachangyas. 14. Durayyas. 15. Pbllnals. 16* Sutarnal. 
17. Bhande, 18. Karol, some kind of cannon. ( Chitnis, 185^5, ) 


1,200 camels and 4,000 horses from Afzal's forces, and twelve 
elephants and 1,000 horses from Rustum Zaman's army in 1659. 
In the battle of Salhir the booty included 125 elephants, 6,000 
camels and 6,000 horses. ' These seem to be exaggerated figures, 
but in many other battles and expeditions the Marathas were 
capturing these animals, and consequently there must have been a 
large number of these for military and civil use. 

16. Military reforms In opposition to the Muslim armies 
the Maratha army was an imperial institution managed by the 
central government. It has been seen that many reforms were 
introduced by Shivaji. These are summarized below : 

1. He created a special royal troop for his personal protection 
and as a reserve for contingencies. 

2. He did away with the feudal army and created a standing- 
army directly recruited by the government 

3. He reduced the importance of the mercenary troopers and 
increased the strength of the state-paid army. 

4. He avoided the mistakes and pitfalls of the Mogul 
Emperors by having light-armed cavalry and by introducing very 
strict regulations against luxury, drunkenness, indulgence in 
music, etc. 

5. He introduced the system of breeding horses and of 
branding them in imitation of the Mogul's method, 

6. Ths Mogul Emperors depended more on the cavalry than 
on the infantry, but Shivaji paid more attention to the improvement 
of the infantry. 

7. His forts could be defended proper! 
his strength lay in inaccessible stronghold 
light-footed infantry. He consequently t 
make it efficient and faithful. 

1. Shi*a}i, Part II, 52, 189, 479. 


8. He gave titles to his military officers but no lands in gift. 

9. He absolutely did away with the vicious Mogul system of 
paying the salaries of officers from rents or lands given in Inam to 
them. All were paid in cash from the state and local treasuries. 

10. Every soldier was paid directly by a civil officer and not 
by his military commander. Officers as well as soldiers were all 
liberally paid. Besides, they were honoured with titles and 

11. He kept the military forces under civil administration. 
He created a graded hierarchy of military officers who were irr 
no way permitted to rule the country. The civil rulers were 
separate and had nothing to do with the army, but in various 
expeditions when Ministers were put in charge of the military 
operations, the army was to obey their orders. 

12. Shiva was the supreme builder and fortifier of forts. His 
new regulations for the internal organization of the forts deserve 

13. Spies were posted in every unit of the army, so that the 
Raja could get full information of its movements and occurrences. 

14. Officers called Vaknis wrote all news regarding the army, 
so that Shivaji was kept informed of all details. 

15. Every commander was given a private secretary to write 
out his official diary which \\as probably inspected by the higher 

16. His army was non-communal, even Muslim soldiers and 
officers had a significant share in every branch of the army. 

17. He established factories for manufacturing various kinds 
of armband ammunition. 

18. He was the father of the Maratha navy which proved a 
terror to the Siddi, the M^gtil and the European navies. 


19. He introduced a private merchant marine. 

20. He avoided pitched battles and relied more on guerilla 

The Forts 

17. Shivaji, a nan of forts Daughlas has aptly said that 
Shivaji's dwelling was among the rocks, and his strength lay in the 
everlasting hills. He was a man of forts, born in a fort. The forts 
made him what he became, and he made the forts what they were 
the terror of all India ; the cradle of his nation ; the basis of his 
conquests ; the steps of his ambition, his home and his joy ; many 
of them he built, all of them he strengthened. 

18. Classical names of forts One was a Lion's Den 
( Sinhagad ), another the Bolt of Indra ( Purandar ), a third was 
Bhima's Fort, a fourth was Valour Fort ( Pratapgarh ). A few 
other instances are most interesting. Pandavagarh ( Pandavas' 
Fort); Vijayadurg( Victory Fort); Rai gar h (Royal Fort); Vishalgarh 
( Formidable Fort ) ; Panhala ( Serpents' Home ) ; Suvarndurg 
( The Golden Castle ) ; Vishramgarh ( The Fort of Rest ) ; Lohgad 
( Steel Fort ) ; Shrivardhangarh ( Enhancer of Prosperity ) ; 
Manranjangad ( Pleasing to the mind ) ; Kanchangad ( The Golden 
Fort ) ; Kamalgad ( Lotus Fort ) ; Mayurgad ( Peacock Fort ) ; 
Madangad ( Fort of Cupid ) , Mitragad ( Friendly Fort ) ; 
Rajhansagad ( dander Fort ) ; Sundargad ( Beautiful Fort ) ; 
Naladurg ( King Nala's Fort ) ; Devagad ( God's Fort ); Bhaskargad 
( Sun-Fort ) ; Gajendragad ( Elephant Fort ) ; Chandragad ( Moon- 
Fort ) ; Satara ( Star- Fort ). Only inspiring names were not 
given to the fortified places, but some pleasing titles were chosen 
to create appreciation of their natural beauty. A few instances 
have been given at random above. All these are Sanskrit names. 
This fact furnishes an incontestible testimony of his literacy and 
love for Sanskrit* 

19. Nmber of forts: In the words of Orme " nothing was 
spared which might contribute to the internal defence of his country. 
Regular fortifications well-armed and garrisoned barred the opener 

80 SfflVAji THE 

approaches ; every pass was commanded by forts, and in the closer 
defiles, every steep and overhanging rock was occupied as a station 
to roll down great masses of stone, which made their way to the 
bottom, and became the most effectual annoyance to the labouring 
inarch of cavalry, elephants and carriages. It is said that he left 
350 of these posts in the Concan alone/' 

The Sabhasad Chronicle gives the number of forts as 240. 
Out of these one hundred and eleven \vere construe ted by Shivaji 
himself, 49 were captured by him in Maharashtra, 30 in the 
Karnatic and 41 below the Ghats. 1 In tlie Chitnis Chronicle* the 
number of forts is 317 as under: 

Military circlet N. *f forts 

1. Satara and Wai 11 

2. Karad 4 

3. Panhala 12 

4. Maval Sahyadri 18 

5. Konkan on the sea coast and sea forts 38 

6. Konkan 57 

7. Thftna 12 

8. Baglan 7 

9. Trimbak,.c., 25 

10. Phonde-Bednur 12 

11. Jagdevagad in the Karnatic 18 

12. Shrirangpatan 23 

13. Vellor 25 

14. Kolhapur and Balapur 27 

15. Wanagad 22 

16. Chandi 6 

1 7. Tanjore and Arni 


1. Sea, h, Cbb*, pp. 140*148. 

2. ChitniS, pi 115, 

s. 10. 


The Chitragupta : Chronicle raises the number to 361 and 
gives a complete list of their names. 

Hill castles and underground forts 240 
Forts on the ground 108 

Sea forts 13 

This list is to be preferred to others. There is no reason to 
doubt the veracity of the names given therein except in a few cases. 
Thus we can safely assert that Shivaji was the master of about 
350 forts, out of which some fifty must have played an important 
role in Maratha history. 

20. Fortifications and repairs .The 91 Q. Chronicle records 
that Shivaji built a fort at every place which he found strong and 
beautiful in situation, and put in it trustworthy and brave men. 
Mudforts were demolished and stronger ones were constructed in 
their places. 3 

We have already seen how he strengthened the fortifications of 
Kajgarh, Raigarh, Sinhagad, Lohagad, Mahuli, Purandar, Panhala, 
Vishalgad, Rangana, Phonda, Vellore, Ginji, Sindhudurg, and 
numerous other fortresses and castles. Shivaji fully understood 
that the hill-forts were the best means for the protection of the 
land, its people, the king and his royal power. Hence he took 
care to maintain the walls, gates and towers of the forts in full 
repair and to keep provisions, stores and munitions ready for a 
long siege. 

As he was in constant fear of Mogul invasions, he created in 
1671 a reserve fund of 175,000 pagodas for repairs and another of 
125,000 pagodas for provisions. These funds were to be used only 
in times of emergency when money from other sources could not 
be obtained. The relative importance of the forts is probably 
manifest from the amounts specified in the list of the reserve fund. 3 

1. Chitragupta, pp. 127-131. 

2. Vak.,p. 129. 

3. Rajwade VIII. Documents. 21, 22 of 1671 A. D. 

It is as follows: Raigad, Sinhagad, Sindhudurg, Vijayadurg, 
Sinrarndurg. Pratapgad, Purandar, Rajgad, Pracbandgad, Prasiddhagad, 
Visbalgad. Mahipatgad, Sudhagad, Lohagad, Sabalgad, Shrivardhangad 
Iftanaranjan, Korigad, Sarasgad, Mahidbargad. Manobargad. 



21. High waft* to workmen These letters bring out the 
important fact that Shivaji offered adequate and regular wages to 
the workmen, because ' otherwise the workers grew discontented, 
and the repair works suffered*. He was always on the lookout for 
expert workmen. He built Smdhudurg with the help of the- 
Portuguese engineers. For instance, he tempted several men from 
Bombay by offering high wages, and requested Englishmen at 
Madras to send experts for repairs of the Ginji fort. 1 

22. Internal organization in a fort Every fort was in the 
possession of the Central Government, and no baron or Jagirdar 
was allowed to have one or even a house with a bastion. Each 
fort was manned by state forces and put in charge of several 
officers. The military command of the forts was of a different 
type from that of the army. A corporal f or Naik was 
appointed a leader of nine sepoys ( Paik ). Over every three Naiks 
was placed a Jamadar who thus commanded thirty men. Over all 
the Jamadars was appointed a Hawaldar. He was the Commandant 
of the fort and head of the garrison. He was usually a Maratha 
assisted by a Sabnis, a Karkhanis and a Sarnaubat. The first three 
officers were of the same status. The Sabnis or Accountant's post 
was filled by a Brahman who used to be in charge of the rolls and 
accounts, while the Karkhanis was invariably a Kayastha Prabhu 
who was the head of the commissariat department. The Sarnaubat 
used to be a Maratha. Besides these three officers of three different 
castes, there used to be watch officers of the ramparts, called Tat- 
sarnaubats. They were officers of the patrolling parties and night 
watches. The duties of Sabnis and Karkhanis were probably 
performed in the Bijapuri government by Chowkinawis. Shivaji 
appointed these officers in the beginning of his reign. For instance, 
Raghunath Balal was made Chowkinavis of the army just after the 
death of Kond Deva in 1647. Some time after he was raised from 
Chowkinavis to be the commander of the Konkan forts. After 
the capture of the fort of Purandar by Shivaji, A. R. Malekar was 

1. Shnraji, Part III, 250-51. 

2. Sen, Sb. Cbh,, p. 29. 


appointed Chowkinavis, but in Sane's edition, the word " Sabnis " 
is used instead. 1 

It is difficult to say when this new system was introduced by 
Shivaji, but from a letter oi 1665, it appears that the three officers 
of Hawaldar, Sabnis, Sarnaubat in addition to Naikvadis were in 
the fort of Rajgad. The Sabnis had delayed the payment of dues 
to the soldiers and an enquiry ^ as made into his conduct ( Raj. 
VIII, doc. 9 ). In seme cases the post was filled by some great man, 
but the work was done by his substitute. For instance, Ramachandra 
Kilkanth was made Sabnis in the fort of Sindhudurg on 100 pagodas 
per annum, but his agent cr Mutahk was to perform the duties 
according to the letter of appointment issued by Shivaji Raja 
himself on 13th April 1668. Moreover, this post was made hereditary 
in his family. 9 

23. Pay of officers In two Marathi letters the pay of the 

Hawaldar and Sarnaubat of the fort Utlur is mentioned to be 125 
and 100 Hons, the officer in charge of the buildings also got 125 
Hons, while his secretary was paid 36 Hons per annum. The 
rampart-officers were paid 12 Hons and the Bargirs, 9 Hons 3 
year. Grant Duff says that the regular pay of a foot-soldier was 
from one to three pagodas, that of a horseman from two to five, 
and that of a Shiledar from six to twelve pagodas a month. Besides, 
the officers used to get allowances for bearers of palanquins, 
torches, sun-shades and for other services. 

It was difficult for all these officers to conspire against Shivaji 
and to treasonably hand over a fort to the enemy. They were not 
only checks upon each other, but were jointly responsible for the 
safety of the forts. For instance, when Bhupalgad was invaded 
by the rebellious Sambhaji at the head of the Mogul troops, all the 
three officers jointly replied to his demand for the surrender of 
the fort. 8 

1. In 91 Q. Cb, this caste is said to supply Chowkinavises, 

2. Vak. Pp. 54, 59, 89. 3. Sh. pig. 206. 


Shivaji had frequently used the lure of wealth to buy off 
loyalty of the Adilshahi and Mogul officers, and thus he had easily 
got possession of many fortresses. His personal experience warned 
liim not to entrust the safety of a fort to one or two officers. While 
men of important castes were given high posts, they, impelled by 
mutual jealousies and self-interest, were sure to prove loyal to 
the benevolent ruler. 

24. Guards for outskirts The Raja's genius found out still 
greater security in the employment of Mahars, Mangs, Ramosbis, 
Kolis, Bhils, and other jungle tribes for the protection of the- 
outskirts and slopes of a castle. All these tribes were mainly 
composed of most adventurous dare-devils. 

Some of these depressed classes were by tradition criminal 
people. He employed them as defenders of forts, and thus made 
them benefactors of the state. They proved to be the staunchest 
supporters of the suzerainty of their liberal sovereign. 

A third precaution taken by him was a careful selection of 
both men and officers. These were appointed after the Raja had 
individually inspected each man. Brave and shrewd youths of 
good family were recruited, but some one of the personal staff of 
the Raja was to stand surety for each of them selected for the army* 
Personal sureties were similarly taken for every officer appointed 
in the army. 1 

Finally, he did not keep the same officers long in a fort, but 
used to transfer them from place to place. There was also no 
hereditary enjoyment of a post, as it was prevalent in the Bijapur 

The fighting forces were composed of musketeers, spear-men, 
swordsmen, archers, and light-armed men. There were others 
who used to throw rockets, hand-grenades and stones. Sometimes 
huge boulders were rolled down the slopes to crush the ascend i 
soldiers and horses. 

1. Sen, Sh. Chh., pp. 29-?0. 


25. Rqpdar taspcctira of fort* Shivaji used to often inspect 
the forts either himself or through responsible ministers. He had 
a code of regulations which were to be strictly followed by the 
officers of the forts. There is a fine anecdote narrated by Chitnis 
of the tests held by Shivaji. One night he approached the entrance 
of the Panhala fort and demanded it to be opened. The sentry 
at the gate consented to inform his officer of the Raja's arrival. 
After a time the Hawaldar appeared on the rampart and regretted 
his inability to permit him in against the rules. The Maharaja 
told him that he was hotly pursued by enemies and his life was in 
-danger. Thereupon the officer gave him assurance that he and 
his soldiers will stand guard on the rampart, and defend the gate 
against the enemy during the night. In the meantime he let down a 
bedstead and bedding for the king to sleep in the porch under the 
watch and guns of the fort. In the morning when the gate was 
opened according to the regulations, the officer appeared before the 
king with all humility for not complying with his wishes at night 
and hoped to be excused for disobedience. But Shivaji was much 
delighted at the bold conduct of the officer, so he munificently 
awarded him for fearlessly performing his duty. He paid such 
surprise visits to many forts before going to Agra. At other 
times he sent his commanders for inspection. Abaji Pant and 
Annaji Dutto were appointed to visit and inspect every fort, and 
to report upon the strength of its fortifications and the stock of 
materials and provisions. 

The views of Shivaji are given in a chronicle thus : " Forts 
are for the protection of the land and the people. Just as 
ships and boats are strengthened with nails of iron, so by means 
of forts and redoubts the kingdom is strengthened, and the ryots 
safeguarded. I have an enemy like the Emperor Aurangzeb. If, 
God torbid it, he decides on active hostility and spends his whole 
life in warfare with me, the conquest of these forts would be beyond 
his power. In fact, forts are the defendants and guardians of the 
kingdom and the royal power." From that time forward he laid 
down the rule that in the larger forts enough munitions and grain 


should be stored to last for 12 years, and in the smaller forts for 
two years, and that reliable men whose words could be depended 
on, should be posted in the forts and kept contented and attached 
to their master by all means, so that they might not hesitate to 
sacrifice their lives in time of need. 

These ideas were actually put into practice as has been 
strangely confirmed by Father Friere. ! " With this prevision, 
Shivaji applied all the energy of his mind and all the resources 
of his dominion to the fortifications of the principal towns. He 
constructed new ramparts around Gingi, dug ditches, erected 
towers, created basins, and executed all these works with a 
perfection which European art would not have denied. He did as 
much for the other citadels, whose position promised real 
advantages, destroyed all those which he considered useless, 
constructed a large number of new ones in the plains and hills, and 
put all these fortresses in a state of preparedness for a siege of 
several years." 

26. Repair of f ort$ The rule was to keep intact the walls of 
towers by repair, to strengthen the gates, and to keep stores, 
munitions and provisions of the forts ready for every emergency. 

There used to be a Sarnaubat or Hawaldar in charge of the 
public works. His duties were to look to the repair and construction 
of all buildings and ramparts in a fort. Among the reforms 
introduced by Shivaji one was the establishment of the P. W. D. 
Moropant and Hiroji Farzand were appointed to the post of the 
chief superintendent of buildings. In the beginning Brahmans, 
but afterwards Marathas too, were put in charge of this department. 
We have instances of such appointments at Ginji, Rudraj, Salvi 
and Utlur. 2 

27. Vestiges of old forts A visit to one of the principal fojrts 
like Sinhagad, Raigad, or Panhala is an eye-opener. The tourist 
-will find that everything is lying in a dilapidated condition; ramparts' 
and gates are crumbling to dust ; the tanks and granaries are in 

1. Shivaji, Part III, p. 253. 

2, Vak., pp. 57, 88. 89: 141-42; Rajwade VIII, pp. 30-31. 


ruins ; old guns and iron balls are lying scattered among heaps of 
stones; old mansions have scarcely more than bare walls or 
foundations. Yet forts like Toma, Rajgad, Raigad, Sinhagad, 
Purandar, Pratapgad, Shivneri, Vishalgad, Panhala, Satara, 
Sindhudurg, present evidence of a very systematic government. 
These have very big granaries, so that for years they> could 
sustain a siege even without receiving provisions from without. 
Though many of these were hill -forts, sufficient care was taken to 
procure an adequate supply of water for human and animal pur- 
poses. Gunpowder and munitions of war were kept in underground 
cellars. They had secret tunnels or passages to effect escape in times 
of difficulty. Several of them had drawbridges to join and sever 
the connection with the land. They could be absolutely cut off by 
a ditch of water and yawning chasms of ravines. Their slopes 
were chiselled very steep, so that they were inaccessible even to 
the light-footed Mavalas. The weak points of defence were 
artificially strengthened with redoubts and fortifications. After 
capturing the impregnable castle of Ginji which included seven 
fortifications upon hills, Shivaji rebuilt it very strongly. Manucci 
has recorded that the Raja could foresee the emergency of Aurangzeb 
investing this castle. Therefore, he kept a great store of money, 
munitions, provisions, etc. to resist the Mogul armies during a long 
siege. 1 Shivneri has seven pates on the way which winds up the 
slopes within the ramparts. There are about fifty tanks both large 
and small there. Even the gates are doubled or trebelled in defence. 
One gate led to the other and to the third before one could enter 
the fort. At each gate a guard of soldiers was stationed and 
adequate arrangements for offence and defence were made. Two 
such gates are to be seen at Panhala, known as the " Three Gates " 
and the " Tiger's Gate." The masonry work is done in lead and 
lime. The gate has escaped the ravages of time for 
three hundred years. The old palace of Shivaji at 
by the rulers of Kolhapur even now, is preserv, 
original form. Similarly, the tower of the time of 
is kept in good condition there. It gives a pano/ 
1. Shivaji, Part III, pp. 259, 269. 


whole of the Konkan and the surrounding districts. There were 
market places for the sale of all articles required by the soldiery 
and the officers. At Raigad we have the ruined shops of the great 
bazar of 25 ft. wide and a mile in length. In Panhala too, many 
shops must have existed. Barracks for the soldiers, and houses 
and offices for officers, temples, mosques, gardens, open spaces 
for military drills were to be had within the foits. Outside the 
ramparts the circumventing area of the slopes was generally 
divided into seven Petas or villages named after the week-days, 
such as Monday Pet, Tuesday Pet, Friday Pet, and so on. Each 
one of these was inhabited by Gadkaries or "Guardians of the Fort" 
consisting of different castes. The\ spent their time in cultivating 
the lands allotted to them on the slopes and at the foot of the hill, 
but in time of war, they defended the outskirts of the fort. Every 
day they had to keep watch, so that no hostile army shoufd 
pass through the intervening spaces for surprising the fort. 

28. Architecture Shivaji had no time to go in for superb 
art in architecture. Many of his structures were hastily raised to 
defend the land against the constant raids of the Bijapuri or Mogul 
forces. Yet the stone arch constituting the great entrance to his 
palace and court at Raigarh is a marvellous specimen of architectural 
beauty and skill. The gateways of the Sindhudurgand Vijayadurg 
are of no mean quality. Similarly, the ramparts of these forts and 
of Shivaneri or of Satara are admirable pieces of workmanship. 
The works of Ginji, as already pointed out, were executed with a 
perfection which European art would not have denied. 

A very interesting description of the construction of the 
Smdhudurg at Malwan is given in the Chitragupta Chronicle ( Pp. 
113-136). We get a vivid idea of the difficulties e.xperienced in 
such undertakings by Shivaji from the purchase of 200 khandis of 
iron to the manufacture of tools for the masons, the supply of lead 
and lime for joining stones, or from the collection of 3,000 men 
for the works including 100 Portuguese experts from Goa to the 
provisioning of gunpowder, balls and guns for the fort. It took 
three years to complete this fort under his- own instructions 

S. 11. 


and the able superintendence of Gobmd Vishwanath Prabhu, Shivaji 
generously awarded the services of all at the completion of thiss 
fort which was expected to keep m awe both the Europeans and 
the Moguls. It has withstood the onslaughts of time and tide for 
two hundred and seventy years. Even now though it has beeiv 
lying in a neglected condition for several decades, it elicits our, 
admiration for the master-builder Shivaji. The present prospect 
of the fort can be had from the picture opposite p. 145, while the 
views of two sea forts with Maratha navies about them in 1755 
are given in a picture opposite p. 372 of Part III. 

The Maratha Navy 

29. Importance of the navy The navy was considered to be 
an independent limb of the state. It was essential to have a strong 
navy, because in the words of Ramachandra * mastery of the sea 
is in the hands of him who possesses the strongest navy.' Yet he 
advised kings not to have very large ships as these were not useful 
without the help of the wind. However, he favoured the construction 
of a few men-of-war to create dread in the enemy. He was an 
advocate of having a navy consisting of brave and efficient soldiers 
and fully equipped with heavy guns, short-guns, match-locks, 
grenades, ammunition, and other material for naval use. 1 

The Maratha navy was composed of a light crew and was no, 
match to a European fleet on the open sea. The largest ships were 
frigates, called Gurabs of about 200 to 300 tons. These were looked 
down with contempt by the Europeans, because their ships were 
of bigger tonnage and though merchant vessels they carried guns 
and soldiers to protect themselves from hostile attacks. An English 
Company's ship of 500-600 tons was generally equipped with 36 
guns and carried about 120 soldiers, and a ship of 400-500 tons 
had 30 guns and 90 soldiers. Smaller ships required less guns and 
soldiers. In short, every merchant ship was armed with guns to 
save itself and to guard the trade of its country. 

1. Polity, p. 48, 

2. Commercial Relations Between India an,d England, p, 253. 


The Marathas had no experts for casting big cannon, and were 
dependent upon the European nations for the same. The Mogul 
Emperor and Europeans were liberally helping the Siddis of 
Janjira in their war against Shivaji. The result was that that fort 
was at one time defended with 500 big cannon. Hence the capture 
of Janjira, even after enormous sacrifices of men and money, was 
not affected by Shivaji up to the end of his life. As he was 
dependent upon the Europeans for ammunition and ordnance, he 
treated all of them with much consideration. He showed special 
clemency to them at Surat, Vingurla, Madras, Negapatam and 
Pondichery. With the English too he continued to have friendly 
relations up to the end of his life, and did not ally himself with 
the Dutch against the English in 3673 even in time of emergency. 
He was a terror to them all. The Bombay settlement, being in its 
infancy, could not have been able to defend itself against his 
hordes, but he had realized the importance of every European 
nation which was carrying on commerce with India. He 
occasionally threatened the English, but actually did not give them 
any trouble, though they were affording refuge to the Siddi's fleet. 
Only at the end of 1679 he occupied Khanderi, and successfully kept 
its possession against the united fleets of the English and the Siddi. 

Suffice it to say that the prestige of the English was very 
much lowered in this war with Shivaji. Dr. Fryer has piquantly 
expressed the public opinion on this question :- 

" Amidst these Wars and rumours of Wars, we quietly lay 
down our arms, and leave Seva Gi and the Syddy alone to contend 
for our stony piece of Ground on Henry Kenry ; how much to our 
Honour or Reproach, may be gathered from the language we have 
daily cast in our Teeth ; " Why Vaunts your Nation ? What 
Victories have you atchieved ? What has your Sword done ? Who 
ever felt your Power ? What do you Possess ? We see the Dutch 
outdo you ; the Portugals have behaved themselves like Men ; every 
one runs you down ; you can scarce keep Bombaim, which you got 
( as we know ) not by you" Valour, but Compact ; And will you 


pretend to be Men of War or Cope with our Princes ? It's fitter for 
you to live on Merchandise and submit to us. But for all these 
Revilings Seva Gi makes them tremble here, forgetting that twice 
their Safety has been owing to us, from falling into the hands of the- 
terrible Plunderer." ' 

30. Types of ships : Sabhasad t has given six types : 

1. Gurabs are grabs in English. These had rarely more than 
two masts. They were generally of 100 tons. Some with three 
masts were of 300 tons. 

2. Galbats are named gallivats in English. Such a vessel is 
described by Orme as a large row-boat with two masts rarely 
exceeding seventy tons. By Vaupell it is said to be of 100 to 150 
candies. On the evidence of R. Orme these used to carry six to 
eight pieces of cannon fiom two to four pounders ; they had 40 to 
50 oars and were rowed at the speed of four miles an hour. 

3. Shibads written as Shibars in English, were large vessels 
like half galleys of Spain. 

4. Taratides were sailing vessels of large dimension. 

5. Tarns were sailing vessels generally used by merchants. 

6. Pagars were well-smoothed canoes. 

7-10. Dubarc, Vabhor, Tirkati and Pal are four names 
added to the list by Chitnis and Chitragupta. 

The following types were in common use on the western coast. 

11. Manchua is Machhava in Hindustani. It was a small 
vessel often of twelve candies. It had a main sail, 12 oars and 
four small guns. The Maratha fleet is said to have once lost 50 

12. Galleons were large ships generally sailing between 
Portugal and the East. 

* Shivaji, Part III, p. 492. t Sen-Sh. Chh, 93. 

1-6. Sen, Sh. Chh. P. 93. Sen, M. S. of the Marathas. Pp. 179-51. 

11. Shivaji, Part III, 470, 


13. Hodi was a small boat in very common use. 

14. Mahagiri was a vessel of burden carrying 30 to 200 
candies of goods. These were probably the types of mercantile 

15. Paravs written as Prows or proas in English, were small 
boats, seldom exceeding thirty candies. Eight of these were 
once captured by Shivaji's frigates. 

16. Balloon stands for Balyanv, a state barge. It was sent 
-with some Manchuas and a Shibar from Bombay against Khanderi. 

17. Ketches were also called Doriohs. Each had a main and 
a mizen mast. 

18. Parangttes were small coasting vessels employed in the 
carrying trade by the country merchants. 

We read a few other names of boats in the documents 
reproduced in these volianes : 

19. Fly boats #!fly boat sailed from Gobroon to Batavia. 

20. Patache One Patache is said to have left for Mozumbique, 
and another came ffom Muscat. 

21. Junks werVlatxe vessels sailing from the Malabar coast 
to Mocha, fete. 

22. Yachts ngaged in the 
coasting trade. 

23. Almadia seems to be a light and fast rowing boat. 

24. Catamarans were common on the Coromandel coast. 

25. Frigates of three masts each are often mentioned. 

26. Briganttnes, built after the Malabar fashion and moved 
both by sails and oars, were found on the western coast. 

27. Patmarins for merchandise were possessed by Shivaji as 
well as by the Portuguese. 

12-19. Shivaji, Part II, pp. 505-6. 535-9. Part III. 469-70. 

20-21. Shivaji, Part II, 525, 541,553, 142. 

22-23. Shivaji, Part II, 536, 488. ' 

24-27. Shivaji, Part III, 246, 312, 420, 516* 


31. The reasons for the small craf I: Shivaji did not introduce 
any new type of vessel nor did he imitate the Europeans in 

constructing Jarge men-of-war. He began by building indigenous 
types of vessels which could easily be managed by the Konkan 
people and could freely sail in the creeks and shallow waters along 
the rocky coast. The Europeans were sovereigns of the sea. He 
could not hope to get any European engineers to build his ships or 
pilots to manage them, nor could he ever get the necessary guns 
and munition for the hip s-hips. The situation of his forts, the 
rocky character of the coast, and the limitations mentioned above 
must have obliged him to have small ships. These were looked 
down with contempt by Englishmen ' as pitiful things that one 
good ship \\ould destroy a hundred of them without running 
herself into any great danger.' ' 

32. Organization of the marine: Op /'the evidence of 
Ramachandra ^ant the fighting fleet was ^rpanized in separate 
units, each unit \gnsisting of five grabs, 15 gallivats, and some 
small or light cnRi" 1 - Thse were organised into two squadrons 
each under a separate admiral. 

One was Mai'Naik so often mentioned in the Maratha chronicles 
and the European documents. 1 The other officer was styled Daria 
Sarang. From a Bombay letter of November 1670 we learn that 
a Hindu Vyankatji Sarangji was Daria Sarang or Admiral of the 
fleet. 3 This general who was going to Surat with a fleet of 160 
vessels small and great, was personally known to the Deputy 
Governor of Bombay, Mr. Philips Gyffard, who had been in 
correspondence with him fo,r the last seven or eight years. It 
appears that Vyankatji had been general of the fleet from at least 

A Dutch letter informs us that in 1664 the Maratha fleet was 

-commanded by two admirals. 0ne had the title of Daria Sarang 

and the other of Mai Naik whq^gfs also a Hindu of Malsi caste.? 

Daulat Khan who was gene^JBSIjLShivaji's sea-forces went to 

1-4 Shivaji, Part II, pp. 106, ^/SSJ, * jl-^ 543. 


receive the English on their arrival near Rajapur on 2nd February 
1675. He continued to occupy that post up to the death of the 
Raja. Under him two Muslim officers, Siddi Sambal and Siddi 
Misri by name began to serve from 1676. According to the 
, ^aratha chronicles Ibrahim Khan was one of the admirals probably 
before Daulat Khan. 

^ The English records bear out that there were two generals of 
the Maratha navy. In a letter of 23rd July of 1678 " we read of 
Daulat Khan and Daria Sarang, both generals of his fleet/' 1 
Khanderi was occupied by Mai Naik Bhandan in Aug. 1679, and 
Daulat Khan was the other admiral in charge of the fleet. Therefore 
he should be Dana Sarang, 8 whilst from the preceding reference it 
appears that Daulat Khan did not hold the post of Daria Sarang. 
In Oct.-Nov. 1678 the Dana Sarang and his son were imprisoned 
by order of Shivaji. It is probable that this post was then given 
to Daulat Khan. 3 In spite of the tangle this much is certain that 
there were two fleets, each under an admiral, one Mia Naik and 
the other Dana Sarang. The former was generally a Hindu 
Bhandari and the other a Muslim after 1670. The crew mainly 
consisted of Bhandaris, Kolis and Malabaris-hardy fishermen of 
the western coast. These hereditary lascars, well-known for their 
adventure, courage and endurance, were also engaged by the 
Siddis of Janjira and the English of Bombay. The Bhandaris who 
had settled down in Bombay were considered to be loyal to Shivaji.. 
*' If he should have any design against us, they would be snakes in 
our bosom." 4 Therefore the English were thinking of expelling 
them from Bombay. 

Besides the Hindus a good many Muslims and a few 
Portuguese were also employed in the fleets. Ramachandra Pant 
has consequently strnck this note of warning : " The sheltering 
should be done only in fortified ports. Still it is possible that men 
of the fleet who are many and who are generally Muhammedans 
and arrogant would quarrel and cause injuries amongst themselves. 
Sometimes in secretly fixed places treachery may take place 

1- 3. Shiraji, Part III, pp. 359, ttft, 379, 381-2. 

4. Ibid. Part II, pp. l35 % 384. 


without one's knowledge. This is not desirable. For these reasons 
the sheltering of the navy should be done every year in a different 
port which has got a fort facing the sea." ! 

33. NiTil strength: According to Sabhasad there were two 
squadrons of two hundred vessels each, and the total strength of 
the fleets was seven hundred vessels, while Chitnis puts the strength 
of the fleet at four to five hundred vessels. 3 The Chitragupta 
Chronicle has, howe\er, tecorded the following number of each 
type of vessel. 

Grabs large 30 Hodi 160 

small --- 50 Jug 15 

Gallivats 100 Pal 25 

Taru 60 Manchva 50 

Mahagirya 150 

Total 640 

Excluding the Hodi and the other small craft consisting of 
Mahagirya and Jup, the fighting vessels numbered about 300. In 
addition to this navy, 1,000 Tarus are mentioned.* 

In 1664 forty good frigates were lying in the rivers of 
Kharepatan and Kajapur, while sixty new battleships were under 
construction. 4 In November of the same year we are informed 
that * this terror to all the kings and princes round about had fitted 
up four score vessels and sent them down to Baticola.'* It was 
really in February 1665 after the completion of the Sindhudurg at 
Mai wan that he himself led a naval expedition to Barcelore with 
a fleet consisting of 85 frigates and three great ships.' This was 
the only one expedition during which he travelled on the sea. He 
passed by Goa without any molestation from the Portuguese* 

1. Polity, p. 51. 

2. Sen, Sh. Chh., pp. 134, 192; M. S. of the Marat has, p. 182. 

3. Chifra. Ch., pp. 125-26. 

4. Shivaji, Part II, 102, 117,582. Shivajrs vessels are often spoken or 
as frtgots by the English. In mother letter the number of new vessels is 
reduced to 50 frigates ( Part II, pp. U6-117 ) f 

5-6. Ibid. Part II, pp. 105, lcS-118, 36T 


pluter&d Barcelore, sent back the fleet and kept only twelve, 
transport his army over the rivers on the way. In a 
letterN^2Is<: November 1670 the fleet in Nagothana is said to 
consist orWBwWall vessels, but in the following letter the Deputy 
Governor is more accurate in saying that the fleet consisted of 160 
sail both small and great. It was not composed of small vessels 
only. Three thousand soldiers were being conveyed by ' it 
to Surat. 

It was victualled for 40 days, and equipped with extraordinary 
provision of tools such as pickaxes, showels, crows of iron, etc., 
in the creek of Nagothana. It sailed along Thull, Bombay and 
Mahim, but was unexpectedly called back. During its return journey 
it captured a great ship of the Portuguese off Daman, while the 
Portuguese armada took twelve of these vessels. Dr. Fryer saw a 
small fleet of 30 ships and vessels belonging to the Maratha navy 
at Shriwardhan. Only a white flag was flying over the Admiral or 
Flagship. 1 1 is clear that the navy did not then use the Bhagava 
Banner. 9 

Even in 1664-65 the strength of the Maratha navy had so much 
frightened Aurangzeb who had adopted the title of Alamgir the 
Lord of the World, that he instructed the Governor of Surat to 
induce the Dutch with promises of a substantial reward to destroy 
the fleet of Shivaji, but they did not consent to do so since the 
Raja had promised them to give facilities in the Konkan. They 
decided to remain neutral. 3 

The English were commanded by the Mogul authorities not to 
supply arms and ammunition to Shivaji. Then negotiations were 
conducted with the Europeans at Surat to guard the Mecca fleets 
against the Maratha navy. 

When in 1670 he could lead a fleet of 160 vessels, the actual 
strength of his navy must have been much higher. A large number 
.- i. Shivaji, Part II, pp, 405. 109-U8. 365. 

2. Shhraji, Part HI, pp. 144. 

3. Shiraji, Part II, pp. 109, 13L 

S. 12. 


-of ships must have been kept to guard more than twenty ports and 
sea-forts under Shivaji. Then it must have gone on increasing with 
the growth of his power, resources and kingdom. Therefore the 
fighting vessels great and small might approximate four hundred. 
The number of light craft to victual the fleet or to serve as- 
mercantile boats can not be reliably stated. 

34. The Merchant fleet of Shifiji In 1664 Shivaji is said to 
possess eight or nine ports which were most considerable in the 
Deccan. From every port he used to send two, three or more 
trading vessels to Persia, Bassora, Mocha, etc. ' 

Even his Subedar Raoji Somanath Pandit, following the 
example of his master, made eight or nine ships ready to sail ta 
Mocha, Congo, Persia, Muscat, etc. However the English factors 
made up their mind not to issue permits to them. ! Two ships were 
being fitted out by Shivaji at Jaitapur for Mocha in February 1663. 
In 1670 Daria Sarang's three vessels went to Bombay to take in 
salt. 9 Shivaji used to send a fleet in May for bringing salt. In 
1672 the English were planning to surprise this May fleet which 
would have been a vast loss to him.* 

Ramachandra Pant has mentioned several facilities to be 
given to foreign merchants visiting the Konkan ports. For instance, 

1. Naval and civil authorities should conciliate the merchants- 
in many ways. They should be allowed to take whatever wood 
and water they want. 

2. They should be permitted to buy their provisions. They 
ought to have full freedom to bring and purchase goods after paying 
the custom dues. 

3. Hospitality should be shown to important merchants. 

4. Full security should be given to them for their person 
and goods. 

5. Enemy vessels should be captured. An inventory of their 
goods be made and the king be informed of the whole affair. Thus 

1-2. Shivaji, Par* II, pp. 114, 151-53, 165, 401. 


encouragement was to be given to merchants of all creeds to settle 
in the ports. 1 He has truly advised the rulers to encourage trade 
which would bring about an increase in the revenue from customs* 
A large fleet should not be made to depend on the income from 
customs alone. We have the testimony of Abbe Carre * that along 
the sea where Shivaji was master, no vessel from Europe came to 
which the Maratha Governors did not send provisions. Then he 
gives an example from his personal experience of the year 1668 
when he accompanied two vessels of the French Co. and visited 
several Maratha ports. They were treated in a way which they 
had never hoped for. 

The Maratha statesmen of the time of Shivaji had fully 
understood the policies and character of the Europeans, and 
therefore a note of warning was struck by Ramachandra Pant 
in these words : 

" The hat- wearers ( Topikars ) are not like other merchants. 
Their masters, every one of them, are ruling kings. By their orders 
and under their control these people come to trade in these 
provinces. How can it happen that rulers have no greed for 
territories ? These hat-wearers have full ambition to enter into 
these provinces, to increase their territories and to establish their 
own religions. Accordingly at various places they have already 
succeeded in their ambitious undertakings. Moreover, this race of 
people is obstinate. Where a place has fallen into their hands, 
they will not give it up even at the cost of their lives. 

Their intercourse should therefore be restricted to the extent of 
only their coming and going for trade. They should never be given 
any places to settle, nor should they be allowed to visit any 

35. Shivaji's naval exploits:- were of no mean description. In 
the beginning of his victorious career about the year 1657, he 
wrested from the Portuguese who were the sovereigns of the Indian 
ocean in those days, the right of free navigation for his own armada ; 
he captured the maritime ports like Rajapur, Dabhol, etc. from 
I. Polity, pp. 49-50. 2. Hist. Misc. P. 46. 


Bijapur in 1660 ; be reduced Danda Rajpuri along with several 
other sea-coast towns of the Siddis ; he carried on a life-long 
struggle with them for the possession of their sea-girt rock-castle of 
Janjira; he built the Ocean Fort ( Sindhudurg ), the Victory Fort 
< Vijayadurg ), the Golden Fort ( Suvarndurg ), the Lotus Fo& 
(Padmadurg), the Jewel-Hill ( Katnagiri ) and the Royal Fort 
( Rajkot ) ; he occupied the important fort of Colaba near Bombay 
and made it his principal arsenal ; he collected Chauth from the 
Portuguese for Daman, and plundered Sunda, Bardes, and Salsette; 
he personally led a naval expedition with 85 frigates and three 
great ships for the sack of the port town of Barcelore in 1665 ; 
he increased the strength of his navy to such an extent within 
five years that in 1670 he made a naval demonstration with 160 
vessels in the Back Bay of Bombay to strike terror into the 
hearts of Englishmen and the Bombay people ; he captured a 
large Portuguese ship off Daman on his return voyage from 
Bombay ; he refused to enter into an alliance with the Dutch 
for the capture of Bombay in 1673 and thus gave an incontestable 
proof of his friendship with the English ; he sacked Carwar and 
Wingurla in 1675 ; he brought the Dutch town of Negapatam and 
the French town of Pondichery into his kingdom which, in 1678 r 
extended from the Indian Ocean to the Bay of Bengal ; and finally, 
-a few months before his death, he fortified Khanden, " so that 
from it, like another Tenedos, he might watch the Bombay shipping 
before it entered our Hellespont." Even in 1664 he had terrified the 
Mogul subjects on the one hand and the Bijapuri people of the 
Konkan on the other. The Dutch factors at Surat record that the 
Moors ' think that they will be attacked by him 
although he never before sailed the sea. If he 
has inspired, would enable him to inflict still , 
Mogul with robbing and plundering. HeJ 
conceptions and designs which he knows 
execute with ingenuity.' ' 

The Englishmen of Surat wrote that t' 
1 . Shivaji, Part II, pp. 102, 113, 496. 

100 SravAji THE GREAT 

expect him by sea. He was to waylay the Surat vessels returning* 
from Bassora and Persia, or to transport an army to Cambay for 
plundering Ahmedabad. 

The Dutch at Wingurla were afraid of Shivaji who had 
enough ships and had always opportunity by night and at 
unforeseen times to surprise and capture their ships with his armed 
4 thousand legs ' (?). Thus by 1664 he bad succeeded to terrorize 
not only the Mogul subjects but even the three European nations 
who had monopolized the sovereignty of the sea from a long time. 
Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha navy, could rightly be proud 
of such an achievement. 

The Englishmen in India must have heaved a sigh of relief on 
his premature death. Mr. Douglas has aptly expressed his nation's 
sentiments regarding the maritime exploits of Shivaji. 

" It was a great mercy that Shivaji was not a seaman, 
otherwise he might have swept the sea, &s he did the land, with the 
besom of destruction. Even as it was he was very nearly doing it. 
He liked the sea, but the sea did not like him. So strong was his 
love of the salt-sea wave that when a young man he took up his 
abode at Mahar, on the Bankot Creek ; at Malwan, he is said to 
have worked with his own hands at the fortifications of Sindhudurg. 
His foot-prints are still shown here, not on " the sands of time,* 9 
but in the solid rock; and the "erring brother," meaning no 
harm, worships him as an avatar-silver mask for every day : gold 
mask for bar a din or big days : Poor Shivaji, who is now 
worshipped as a god, was sea-sick like ordinary mortals ; and 
though he arrayed himself in red fez with jewelled tasses, a big- 
green wave off the Chaul Kudu would have no mercy on him, but 
bowl him, into the lee-scruppers ; and then-bilge-water and mat 
de mer. 

" The victor overthrown ; 

The arbiter of others' fates, 

A suppliant for his own." * 

1. Douglas Boaba? an<J Western India, Vol. I, p, 112. 


3C. Sbiraji's M?al ftehtrrtmats The creation of the naval and 
mercantile marine was a remarkable achievement of Shivaji. The 
Muslim rulers of the north and the south did not possess any navies 
to defend their kingdoms from foreign invasion or to encourage 
coastal and maritime trade. Jahangir, Shah Jahan or Aurangzeb 
Alamgir-each one of these mighty emperors, was nominally * king 
of the world,' yet not sovereign of the sea. None of them could 
create a navy for political and mercantile purposes. The Nizam 
Shahi and Bijapur kings too did not possess national navies. The 
Portuguese, the Dutch and the English shared the sovereignty of 
the Indian seas and fully contiolJed the foreign trade of this country. 
Its kings and merchants had to frequently suffer humiliations from 
the arrogant Europeans. No Indian ship could stir out on the open 
sea without buying the Portuguese permit and without fulfilling the 
conditions mentioned therein. With the decline of the Portuguese 
power, the Dutch and the English began to issue permits. An Indian 
ship holding a Portuguese cartaz could be captured by the English 
or the Dutch if these were at war with the Portuguese. Thus the 
Indian rulers and their subjects did not enjoy freedom of the sea. 
Though the founder of the Maratha empire was fighting a life and 
<Jeath struggle with the Deccan states and the Mogul Empire, yet 
he conceived the idea of having an Indian navy to rule the waves 
after his conquest of Kalyan a great ship-building centre of those 
days. Amidst adverse circumstances he had the time, energy and 
determination to give practical shape to this original idea. In 1659, 
the year of his triumph over Afzal Khan, he had built ships at 
Kalyan, Bhivandi and Panvel. The Portuguese ordered their 
captain not to allow these to go out of the ports. 1 No documents 
are available to throw light on the early struggles of Shivaji with 
his Portuguese neighbours, but evidently they soon recognized the 
right of his fleet to navigate the sea without any hinderance from 
them. Consequently, Shiva richly deserves the titles of ' theFather 

of the Maratha navy ' and ' the Creator of the Indian mercantile 



1. Shivaji, Part III, p. 293. 


This navy was national to its composition and ideals. The 
soldiers and sailors were Bhandaris, Kolis, peasants, Malabars, 
Marathas, Muslims and Christians. These were inspired by national 
spirit and unshakable loyalty to their great ruler. 

We cannot share the view of the learned scholar, Dr. Sen 
when he says that Shivaji's navy accomplished very little excepting 
^ome fighting with the Siddis. The naval achievements of the 
Raja can be summed up as under: 

1. His navy effectively protected the maritime possessions in 
the Konkan against the raids of the Europeans, the Moguls and 
the Siddis. 

2. It protected his own merchant fleet and mercantile vessels 
of his subjects sailing along the coast and even on the open sea. 

3. It gave him the power to impose his rights of sovereignty 
over territorial sea and thus claim the wrecks of all ships in 
his ports. 

4. It enabled him to wrest from the Portuguese the right 
to send out his vessels without obtaining any permits from them. 

5. He kept the Portuguese in awe by entering into alliance 
with the Arabs, the Dutch and the English according to the needs 
of the time. 

6. He captured Khanden and kept its possession against the 
naval might of the English and the Siddi. 

7. He plundered the pilgrim ships of the Mogul Emperor. 
Then he looted the port-towns of Jival, Pabal and others near 
Surat. Thus he proved his strength both on the sea and the land. 

8. His land-forces could be helped in their expeditions to 
Surat or to Barcelore by the navy. 

9. He could keep watch over the activities of the Europeans 
and reduce their power in his ports. His officers used to issue 
permits to every merchant ship after inspecting 1 it on the sea for 
coming into his ports. Thus every port of his kingdom was 
defended against surprise by an enemy. 

1. Sen, Ad. S. of the Msratbas, p. 434. 


10. It kept open the sea for Shivaji to escape to an 
inaccessible fort or to obtain war materials and provisions in time 
of emergency. 

11* It created a naval spirit among his people, and provided 
employment to thousands of sailors and soldiers. 

12, The ship-building industry was immensely encouraged. 
Kalyan, Panvel, Colaba, Kharepatan, Malvan, Wingurla and other 
places had ship-building yards for the repair and construction of all 
kinds of vessels. 

13. Shivaji maintained a bitter and determined struggle with the 
Siddis of Janjira for twenty years, and though he failed to capture 
their castle, he succeeded in creating a national sentiment for the 
maintenance of the naval forces. On the strength of this sentiment 
the Angrias afterwards developed the Marat ha navy to such a pitch 
that it became a terror to the Europeans for forty years up to 1750. 


37. Supply from the Europeans Like the Muslim rulers, Shivaji 
had established a department for the manufacture of gunpowder, 
guns, cannon and other missies. Their names have been given 
before. But these were not as effective and numerous as were 
required for his rapidly growing kingdom. He had to depend upon the 
Europeans for the supply of ordnance and munition. He came 
into conflict with the English of Rajapur in 1660 on this point, 
because they sold mortars and grenades ' to Siddi Jauhar, and used 
these in reducing Panhala under their own flag. Therefore Shivaji 
wreaked vengeance upon them by imprisoning all of them 
at Rajapur, plundering their factory, and demanding a large sum 
for their ransom. 

The English East India Company was keen for the disposal of 
guns, 9 but as the Raja's power increased, and he became a dangerous 
neighbour of the English at Bombay, they were unwilling to supply 
any guns to him, since he was likely to use these against them or 

12. Shivaji, Part II. pp, 137, 144. 337. 


against Jinjira. 'Therefore, they made several excuses for not 
selling any guns to him, 1 

They were often prohibited from supplying artillery and warlike 
provisions to the Maratha ruler by the Mogul Emperor and his 
Governors, and instead ordered to supply those stores to them. 9 

On his part Shivaji too did not like the English to come into 
trouble on account of him. He was anxious to keep the transactions 
secret, and arranged the purchase of guns through some Portuguese 
agents in 167 1. 3 Two years later he sent his envoy Bhimaji 
Pandit to Bombay for securing two or three great guns, but he was 
told that these and other European goods could be supplied only if 
the Raja made peace with the English. 4 

Some time after Shivaji granted the English a Firman for 
trading in his territory with special privileges which were denied to 
others, yet they did not reciprocate their friendship with him. In 
November 1674, his envoy carried an extraodinarily kind letter 
and a rich present for the English President. He desired to buy 
50 big iron guns from 40 to 60 cwts each and two great brass guns, 
but the authorities of Bombay refused to sell these, though 
they had 89 iron guns for sale. The negotiations on their sale were 
prolonged for four years from 1674 to 1678, and their motives for not 
disposing them are detailed in the letters of the period. We incidently 
learn that iron guns were sold at about Rs. 11 per cwt in 1674. 
In short, Shivaji experienced serious handicaps in purchasing guns 
from the English. Only in 1671 we hear of one indirect transaction 
in English guns. Two of these were sold to a Frenchman who 
disposed them to a Portuguese at Thana, and he in turn sold them 
to Shivaji at Rs. 5 per Surat Maund. 5 

These were really useless to the English, ' being very bad 
within : yet with their powder and stone-shot they may last a good 
while/ Next year too, old and defective guns with great holes in 
them were sold out. Similarly, in 1674 February honey-combed 
jguns were disposed of. " 

1-2. Shivaji. Part 11. pp. 280, 375, 390. 395, 481. 

3-6. Ibid, pp. 287, 385, fl96, 428, 431. 

S. 13. 

TM MlutAfcY SFSTEII 105 

The French had no such scruples to supply guns to Snivaju 
In a fetter of 5th September 1670 the English admitted that he 
might furnish himself with lead and guns from the French Factory 
at Rajfcjfctfr, " but we will not bring ourselves into any intrigue.'* l 
Three years later in 1674 there is an entry of purchasing 2,000 
tnaunds of lead and 88 small guns from the French.* The 
Governor of Surat, being offended with them, reported their 
conduct to the Empefor. Again, in December 1679 the French 
sold forty guns to Shivaji who also collected thirty pieces morfe 
from his several forts in the Konkan for strengthening Panhala 
against the impending Mogul invasion. 3 

Similarly, the Portuguese and the Dutch used to supply 
munition to various rulers. In 1663 the Savant* of Wadi asked for 
2,000 Ibs. ammunition from the Dutch for a war against Shivaji, 
while the Portuguese secretly helped the latter with ammunition 
during his war with Jaisingh. 

37. Ordnance manufactured in state factories: These details 
bring out the difficulties experienced by the founder of the Maratha 
Empire in securing guns and warlike stores from the Europeans. 
He must have been manufacturing very large quantities of arms and 
gunpowder in state -factories. We learn from Jaisingh's letter that 
Shivaji had granted important posts in the army to the officers in 
charge of the manufacture of guns. At Purandar Ambaji and 
Kharkuli with their two brothers were officers of the rank of 3,000 
each. They were entrusted with this work during Jaisingh's 
operations in 1665. 5 His forts and vessels must have got an 
adequate supply of cannon, while his army too must have been 
equipped with fire-arms. There is a mention of cannon-balls, bullets, 
-fiery arrows, rockets, hand-grenades being used by the Marathas in 
various battles. 6 For the siege of Phonda Shivaji ordered a craft of 
forty small vessels to be present at Vingurla. The large ones carried 
four guns each. 7 Similarly, other ships were provided with cannon. 

1-2. Eng. Rcc. I, pp. 161, 318. 3-7. Shivaji. Part III, pp. 137, 210. 

In 1675 Shivaji captured the 
castle of Ankola which was 
defended by fifty brass guns. 

5. P. S. S. I, p. 286. 4-6* Ibid, Part II, pp. 28, 91. 


An interesting description of native guns and Porjtqguese 
gunners in Junner is already given from Fryer. 1 Shivjaji too 
used to employ engineers from Goa for casting cannon, making* 
gup-carriages and contriving mines in the walls Of forts. He 
requested the English of Madras to send 20 or 25 such men for 
the fort of Ginji. Engineers from Goa were employed for building 
Sindhudurg. Jaisingh complained to the Portuguese that they 
supplied officers to Shivaji for the manufacture of ammunition. 
It is now evident that European and Indian experts were employed 
by the Maratha ruler in his munition-factories. 

1. Shivaji, Part III, p. 

The Financial System 

1. Introductory remarks Shivaji was not the inheritor but 
the creator of the Mar at ha empire that was composed of territories 
which were before under the rulers of Ahmednagar and Bijapur or 
the emperors of Delhi and Vijayanagar. Parts of Maharashtra 
and northern Konkan were annexed by Bijapur in 1636 after Sbahji 
had surrendered to Shah Jahan the remnants of the Nizam Shahi 
kingdom. Thereafter Bijapur rulers captured portions of the 
tottering Vijayanagar empire where ultimately Shahji and his son 
Vyankoji became the prominent figures. Before the year 1672 the 
Maratha Swaraj consisted of the portions which belonged to the 
Nizam Shahi and Bijapur i kings, but after that year Shivaji took 
morsels of the Mogul and a large part of the defunct Vijayanagar 
empires. Thus the revenue systems of the four empires were 
prevalent in the Maratha Swaraj. Each had its own hierarchy 
of officials, different tenures, varying rates of assessment of 
land-revenue and other sources of public income. Shivaji was faced 
with the difficult task of bringing about financial unity out of this 
diversity, and of either revitalizing the old systems or replacing 
these by a new one. We will see that he placed the part of a 
reformer as well as an innovator in the sphere of finance. Land 
revenue was the main source of the income of the central 
government in those days. Consequently the attention of every 
ruler was first drawn to it. The people of central Maharashtra had 
heavily suffered from the wars between the Nizam Shahi rulers and 
the Moguls. Large tracts of land were lying desolate. Crime had 
enormpusly increased. Oppression by officials and grandees bad 
depressed trade and agriculture. Lands had to be repeopled and 
brought under cultivation by giving every sort of encouragement,Tb.e 
first important step taken by Shivaji was to have a survey of the lands, 
and to assess the taxes and other dues payable by the cultivators. 


2. Three MttltMBtf were made at different times under Dadaji 
Kond Deva, Moropant Peshwa and Annaji Datto. 1 Each settlement 
must have been preceded by some kind of survey, though its nature 
and extent are not specified. Dadaji generally followed the 
principles of Malik Ambar's assessment in the fully settled territory, 
but in the case of new villages he granted liberal concessions to 
the cultivators. The main features of Ambar's system were: (i) the 
classification of lands according to fertility ; (ii) ascertainment of 
their produce ; <iii) fixing the government share ; (iv) the collection 
of rents in kind or money ; and (v) the abolition of the intermediate, 
collecting agents as farmers of revenue. 

The rates charged by Kond Deva in the newly settled districts 
are stated to be one rupee per Bigha in the first year ; Rs. 3 in the 
second, Rs. 6 in the third ; Rs. 9 in the fourth ; Rs. 10 in the fifth ; 
Rs. 20 in the sixth ; the same rate as paid by other tenants in the 
seventh and the rate assessed by Malik Ambar in the eighth year. 9 
On these terms the reclamation of lands in the Mavalsand Shivaji's 
estates in the central Maharashtra, was accomplished. It appears 
that the rate under Malik Ambar must have been about Rs. 25-30 
per Bigha. These rates seem to be incredible. The tax of Rs. 25 
per Bigha of the best lands extorted from the tenants must have 
been very excessive, when at present it is about five rupees. Since 
the people were familiar with the Rayatwari system and the fixed 
rates to be paid for various kinds of lands, the old system might 
have been continued for some years, till it was revised by Moropant. 
There are no papers available to throw light on the rates fixed by 
him, hence we have to pass on to the settlement which was 
undertaken by Annaji Datto in 1678. 

3. SttttaBcnt fcy the people - Sabhasad suggests that before 
the new survey one-half of the produce was claimed by the state. 
As this demand was found to be oppressive, remissions were granted 
and a new settlement was introduced. The survey was not to be 
done by Brahman and Prabhu clerks as they were expected 

1. Chitnis. p. 133. 

*. d. P. S. S . Ill, pp. It, 13, 19, 30, 42. 


to proceed very slowly. It was entrusted to the Deshmukhs, 
Ptshkulkarais, Mukaddams, and officers in co-operation with 
the ryots. By eliminating clerks of the revenue department* 
the work was not only expedited, but the roots of curtuption 
and oppression were totally destroyed. Reliance was placed 
upon the highest officers of revenue-collection who were to 
take the cultivators with them in the arduous operations of the 
survey. Thus the people, free from official terror and pressure, 
could have full representation in the survey and assessment. Hence 
it may be called the People's Settlement. 

4. Method of survey: (1) The commissioners were to go from 
village to village to ascertain the produce of each, measure the 
lands therein, and record the extent of arable land. (b)They were to 
divide the lands into three types, hilly, marshy, and the normal 
with black soil, (c) Each type was to be distributed into plots of 
the first, second, third and fourth class, (d) After carefully 
ascertaining the yield of each crop, field by field, the total estimate 
of the crops of each village was to be made. For this purpose 
both the autumnal and vernal crops and the variety of the stuffs 
produced therein were to be considered, (e) A comparison was to 
be instituted between the estimated produce and that current 
according to Malik Ambar's settlement in each village, (f) Further, 
the surveyors were to give an estimate of the probable increase in 
the produce if more labour and capital were applied to the tract. 

5. A new measuring rod for survey: Sabhasad has recorded 
the general practice of surveying all provinces for purposes of 
revenue-settlement. Annaji adopted the new standard of a 
measuring rod which was eighty tansiis or five cubits and five fists 
long-a cubit was equal to 14 fansus and a fist equal to two tansits. 
Twenty rods square made one Bigba. One hundred and twenty 
Bighas made a chavar. 1 All villages were measured and surveyed 
by this new standard, and their area was recorded in chavars. * 

1. A chaw consisted of Pads ( qjf \ and Biswas, but in another letter 

it is divided into Bigbas. Sh. Ch. S. VII, pp. 78, 107. 

2. Sen, Sb. Chb,, pp. 36-37. 


The measurement by a rope was liable to abuse, while the 'Muslim 
method of* using a jarib or an iron chain was costly. Thus a cheap 
and reliable unit of measurement was introduced. 

6. Introduction of the Rayatwari system: The share of, the 
government was two-fifths of the gross produce to be taken direct 
from the ryot. " In every village, from each individual ryot, the 
karkun should according to the assessment, realize the rent ingrains 
from the crops at the time of harvest." 1 The Zamindari system 
was replaced by the Rayatwari. The ryots enjoyed freedom 
from extortion by officials, and had facility to pay the 
revenue in the form of grain at the harvest time. Though the share 
of the government, being 2/5, was high, yet it was lower than what 
was exacted before. Al$J>ar first took one-third of the average 
produce, and eventually one-half. In the reign of Aurangzeb 50 
per cent of the gross produce was the general standard. Thus the 
Maratha ruler gave relief, security, prosperity and happiness to 
the rack-rented peasantry in the Swaraj. 

7. Classification of lands (a) Arable lands were distinguished 
from uncultivable areas. These were divided into three kinds, and 
each kind of land was subdivided into four classes, (h) There 
was a further distinction between Jtrayat and Bagayat lands, i. e., 
those meant for ordinary crops and for fruit gardens, (c) Then 
another classification was on the basis of irrigation ; unirrigated 
lands, tracts irrigated with canal water ( Patsthal ) and with 
well-water (motsthal). 2 (d) A further sub-division was made 
from the view-point of the kind of crops raised. Each major and 
minor crop was to be estimated. 

8. Basis of Assessment The old unit of assessment was the 
plough. In this system an enquiry into the yield of crops was not 
necessary. The cultivator was assessed on the basis of the ploughs 

1. Sen, Sh. Chh., pp. 36-37. , - ' 

2. If the latter class of lands were cultivated with .such costly crops as 
sugar-cane, plantains, ginger, termeric, they bad to pay rent of 3 and 2 Hons 
per bigha for being watered by canals and wells respectively, but for the 

vegetable crops less tax was levfcd, Sb. Ch. S. VII, p. 115: Rajwade, Vol. XV. 


he worked with irrespective of the quality of the land and the crop 
he raised on it. Even Aurangzeb did not abolish this' system of 
plough-assessment in 1652, but kept it on for backward tracts. He 
introduced the sharing system and also that of cash-payments after 
measurement of good and middling lands. In the Maratha survey 
uncultivabje waste lands were excluded from assessment. The 
people were, however, encouraged to bring them under cultivation. 
Such lands remained exempt from taxes for some time, but were 
ultimately subjected to a light assessment. Jervis remarks that 
dongar or hilly lands were assessed on the nangar or plough 
basis. He gives the following scale of taxes ! : 

Nachni at 3? maunds and 3 maunds. 
Wari at 3 maunds and 2\ maunds. 
Hank at 3 maunds. 
Other inferior produce at li maunds. 

(4) We find that Shivaji introduced both the differential 
method of sharing the crops and of charging cash-rates on the 
estimated produce of cultivated lands. 

The preceding statements regarding survey are fully confirmed 
by Major Jervis. Says he, " It is commonly believed indeed, that 
be ( Shivaji ) measured and classified all the lands, and then 
ascertained the amount of their produce from one or two villages in 
each Muhal of the Ouchitgurh, Rajpooree, Rygurh, Soowurndroog, 
Unjunvel, Rutnagiri and Veejydroog districts, for three successive 
years, from which data he established the rates, half in kind, 
-half at a fixed commutation rate differing in each Talooka, to 
be paid by the beegah of each sort of land. The classification of 
the rice lands, mule or dhernp, under 12 heads; the four first 
still retaining their former well-known distinctions." * The twelve 
sorts of rice lands were assessed at 12i maunds per bigha for the 
best land and 5 maunds for the worst. 

The second crops on first class lands were assessed at different 
rates, such as, turmeric and hemp at 5 maunds per bigha and 
1-2, Jervis, Geog, mod Statistical Memoir, in the Konkun, pp. 94-97* 

112 . SmvAji THE GREAT 

-sugarcane at 64 to 3t maunds of jagaree per bigha. Thus the rates 
differed with crops and the quality of lands. 

For the first time an attempt was made to have a scientific 
survey of all lands in every village of the Swaraj. Though the 
work must have remained unaccomplished, the adoption of such a 
scheme was highly creditable to Annaji Datto. He lightened the 
burden of the cultivators and yet increased the income of the state 
by carefully fixing the crop-share and cash rents to be given by 
them. The crucial problem of collecting the revenue remained to 
be tackled. The general practice of those days was to collect 
it through farmers, and not by state-officials directly. 

9. Prevalence of the farming system Sabhasad has briefly 
described the old system of farming revenue and the evils accruing 
from it in these words : 

" In the Adilshahi, Nizam-Shahi and Mogul territories 
conquered by Shivaji, the ryots used to be under the Patils, 
Kulkarnis and Deshmukhs. They used to collect the revenue and 
pay an unspecified sum to the state. For instance, for a village 
yielding 2,000 Hons as revenue, the Mirasdars used to pay only 200 
or 300 Hons to government. Therefore these Mirasdars grew 
wealthy arid powerful by building bastions, castles, and strong-holds 
and enlisting troops. They did not care to wait upon the revenue 
officers, rather they used to resist them whenever more revenue 
was demanded from them. They grew unruly, and forcibly 
misappropriated the lands." Ramchandra Pant too has strongly 
condemned the Watandari system. " They fortify their places, rob 
travellers, loot territories and fight desperately. They make peace 
with a foreign invader with a desire to protect their Watans and 
help him in every possible manner/' 

These statements are buttressed by contemporary evidence 
from the Dutch records on the oppressive and deplorable system of 
the Bijapur government. 

"The governors represent and replace the lords in towns, 
villages and hamlets. Thjs office of governor is often let on lease 
S. 14. 


by the lords for want of money, because they have no capital*. 
This system does not work well, as it gives rise to abuses, extortion 
and grinding down of the population* The King favours a lord by 
means of firmans with large territories of which the revenue is 
reserved for him in exchange for some services. His office is not 
an hereditary one, but a mere favour on the part of the King. Some 
lords practically conduct themselves as if they were independent." 

" Each takes the appearance of being a king, and after having 
committed divers crimes by robbing, murdering, burning and 
devastating the land to their hearts' content, they appear at court, 
where they are praised for being brave soldiers, if they know how 
to oil His Majesty's palm. This practice is daily increasing more 
and more and has taken so very deep a root that the king ( who is 
simply adorned with the crown ) is unable to prevent this, for if he 
deprives some Lords of their dignities, they instantly take refuge 
with Shivaji, Bahlol Khan or some other of the afore-mentioned 
subjects, by whom they are at once favoured with some dignities." 

In Golconda the oppressions on the peasants were no less 
destructive of prosperity and humanity. According to William 
Methwold ' the government is farmed immediately from the King 
by some eminent man, who to other inferiors farmeth out the lesser 
ones, and they again to the country-people, at such excessive rates 
that it is most lamentable to consider what toil and misery the 
wretched souls endure. For if they fall short of any part of their 
rent, what their estates cannot satisfy, their bodies must, so it 
sometimes happens they are beaten to death, or, absenting 
themselves, their wives, children, fathers, brothers, and all their 
kindred are engaged in the debt, and must satisfy or suffer. And 
sometimes it so happens that the Principal, failing with the King* 
receives from him the like punishment, as it befell to one Basbell 
Raw ( Governor at Masulipatam since the English traded thither) r 
who, for defect of full payment, was beaten with canes upon the 
back, feet, and belly, until he died. Yet hold they not these their 
governments by lease, for yearly in July all are exposed- in sale 
unto him that bids most ; from wherfce it happeneth that every 


Governor, during his time, exacts by tolls taken in the way and 
other oppressions whatsoever they can possibly extort from the 
poorer inhabitants, using what violence within their governments 
they shall think fit ; for in them, during their time, they reign as 
petty kings." 1 

10. Watans: From ancient times the custom of holding 
hereditary Watans was prevalent in the Deccan. Hundreds of 
village officers and high government servants were given lands, 
rights and privileges for a certain service performed in the past or 
being performed in the interest of the village or the government. 
Such grants were kown as Watans. In the villages the Patil, 
Kulkarni, Mahar, Chougula, Chaudhari, Kamoshi, black-smith, 
gold-smith, carpenter, washerman, watchman, barber, potter, 
shoe-maker, tailor, oilman, Joshi, Kazi, Mahajan, etc., were the 
Watandars, while Desais, Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Desh-kulkarnis, 
etc., were the district officers who held hereditary Watans. Grants 
of rent-free lands or share of the government revenue were given 
to these. If the rent of a tract of land was given over to a 
state-servant for the maintenance of troops and forts it was called 
Fauj Saranjam, but if it was meant for the support of the family 
or dignity of the grantee, it was known as Jat Sa ran jam. The 
holders of both kinds of Inams formed the landed aristocracy 
enjoying rights, dues and perquisites which gave them power to 
oppress the ryots on the one hand and to weaken the centra! 
government on the other. 

Shivaji deprived the fief-holdiers of their administrative powers. 
Though he did not confiscate their estates, he discontinued the 
system, of granting Inam lands or estates, and displaced them by 
cash payments. His policy has been rightly stated by his minister 
Ramachandra Pant. " The existing Watans should be continued* 
but the power of the Watandars over the people should be done 
away with."* This conciliatory policy was adopted by Shivaji. 
He demolished all fortified places of the Watandars, or posted his 

1. MorcUnd, From Akbar to Aurangzeb. DD. 241*2. 

2. Polity, pp. 33-34, , . 


own garrisons in important forts. No administrative authority was 
left in their hands. He prohibited all that the Watandars used to 
take at their sweet will, fixed the rates of their dues in cash and 
grains, and specified the rights and perquisites of the various 
officers from Kulkarni to Deshmukh according to the yield of 
the village. 1 

Similarly, military officers were given no political power over 
the tenants. " The Surnaubats, Majumdars, Karkuns and men 
on the personal staff of the Raja were given assignments on land 
revenue for their salary. The lands cultivated by them were 
taxed like those of the ryots, and sum due from them as revenue 
was deducted from their pay. The balance of their dues was paid 
from the central treasury or the district establishments. In this 
manner their annual accounts were punctually settled. Mokasa 
Mahals or villages with absolute proprietary rights should never 
be granted to men serving in the army, the militia and the fort 
establishments. Their payments should be paid by varats or with 
cash from the treasury. None but the Karkuns should have any 
authority over the lands. All payments to the military men should 
be made by the Karkuns. The grant of Mokasa would create 
unruly peasants. They would grow strong and disobey the revenue 
regulations. If the ryots grew powerful, there would be disturbances 
at various places. The Mokasa-holders and the Zamindars would 
become unruly. Therefore Mokasas should not be granted to 
anybody." f 

Shivaji completely abolished the farming system, collected all 
revenue through the central agency, made effective arrangements 
to reduce corruption, and provided for the inspection of revenue 
records by the district and central officials. Having cleaned the 
Augean stable of all harpies who were eating away the financial 
vitality of the state, he boldly dealt with the landed aristocracy. 

Besides granting civil and military Inams, the rulers used to 
make religious endowments. These were assignments of the whole 
>r part of revenue of a village or town made by the government for 
1-2. Sen, Sb, Chh., 34, 38. 


religious purposes. Both the Muslim and Hindu rulers showed 
2eal for their religion by being liberal in such grants, (l) Temples, 
mosques, monasteries, hermitages of saints, sacred places where 
saints were buried, alms-houses where free food was distributed 
to Sadhus and travellers, and other religious institutions were- 
granted income from lands or given money from the treasury. 

2. Grants were made to Vedic scholars for encouragement of 

3. Saints like Ramdas, Keshav, Yaqub, etc, were given lands 
or money for their expenses. Mauni Baba of Patgaon was given 
by Shivaji in 1677 an annual donation of provisions sufficient to 
feed one thousand visitors, 18 hons p. a. for three assistants in 
167P, and 125 Hons p. a. in 1680 for a musician and a few 
palanquin bearers. 

4. Physicians were sometimes conferred concessions for their 
service to the poor. There are six Sanads of Inam lands given to 
one Brahman physician family by Muslim rulers and then by 
Shivaji from 1618 onwards. Thus even Muslim rulers used to 
confer pensions and lands upon Hindu as well as Muslim physicians. 
Shivaji followed the same practice. ' 

Ramchandra Pant has most emphatically condemned the grants 
of lands even for religious purposes. " Therefore a king who wishes 
to rule a kingdom, to increase it and to acquire fame as one who is 
skilled in politics, should not at all get infatuated and grant land to 
he extent of even a barley corn." * Consequently, Shivaji donated 
cash and not lands to the deserving men. His donations to 
numerous saints wi illustrate the tendency. 

11. The agrarian reforms ( Shiviji can now be summarized 
as follows : 

(1) The systems of the sale of offices and of farming revenue 
i abolished. 

1. J>. S. S. Ill, 125, 143-4. 

2. Polity, p. 36. 


(2) The practice of bestowing Jatfirs was reduced to the 
minimum and the Zamindari system was displaced by the 
Ryotwari one. 

(3) The fief-holders were deprived of all political of revenue 
power over their tenants. Thus the worst features of the Jagir 
system were removed* 

(4) Agriculture was promoted by the system of Tagavi loans 
and free grants of lands to induce new cultivators and to help the 
tenants in times of need. Cattle were given to the new ryots who 
came to settle on the lands. Grain and money for the purchase 
of seeds and for their maintenance were lent. The sums were 
realized in two or four years according to the means of the debtor. 1 

(5) Remission of rent due to famine, scarcity or destruction 
of crops by the armies was the usual policy of the Maratha 
government. This practice was prevalent in the Muslim and 
Hindu kingdoms. It is not possible to know the extent to which 
the policy was worked in practice for the relief of the peasants. 1 

(6) Waste lands were reclaimed ; new villages and market 
places were founded; traders, artisans, money-lenders etc., were 
induced to settle in the Maratha territory. All these people were 
given concessions, remission of revenue, and certain rights for the 
security of their property and the development of their industry. 
Thus tbe state followed the enlightened policy of improving 
agriculture, trade, and industry. 

(7) A great encouragement to agriculture was given on 
account of the growing demand for provisions by the ever- increasing 
army and navy. 

(8) The people must have migrated from the Bijapur and 
Mogul territories as there they were subject to the plundering 
depredations of the Marathas. Since they could have security, 
safety and prosperity in the Hindu Swaraj, some must have come 
over there to escape from the constant horrors of war. 

1. Sen, Sh. Chh., p. 37. 

2, Sen, Ad. S. M., p. 67. A few Marathi^ettere of Adilshahi regime are 
published on pp. 37, 38, 61, 63, 65 of P. S. S, III. 


(9) Shivaji brought prosperity to the rural areas by employing 
the people in the army and engaging them for about six months in 
the year in conquering expeditions. These people must have- 
become more energetic, enterprising and fearless, Their visits to 
different parts of India must have widened their outlook with 
respect to life in general and agriculture in particular. 

(10) Their perquisites and several Inam rights in the form of 
cesses and fees were abolished. 

(11) All dues of the fief-holdiers were to be paid directly by 
the state and were not to be realized by them directly from the 

(12) The plough-unit of assessment was generally displaced 
by the sharing or cash-payment system. 

(13) Lands were surveyed by the new unit of the rod and the 
system of cash-payments was introduced for some crops and certain 

(14) The share of the government was reduced in comparison 
to what it was before* 

(15) Besides remission of revenue Tagkavi loans were advanced 
by the state to improve agriculture and help the tenants. 

(16) Assessment was made with the help of the people, so 
that government interference was reduced to the minimum in 
estimating the average produce of cultivated lands. 

(17) Cases arising out of land disputes, money-dealings and 
criminal assaults were mainly settled by the jury system. Cheap, 
impartial and prompt justice was meted out to the people. 

(18) New villages and towns were founded, waste lands were 
reclaimed, deserted villages were re-peopled. Various kinds of 
inducements were given to the settlers. 

(19) Prosperity was brought within the grasp of all the 
classes of the people by Creating employment for them in the 
army, navy, forts, civil administration and in the state factories. 


Mr. Pringle Kennedy has rightly said that ' the peasant knew 
what he had to pay and he seems to have been able to pay this 
without any great oppression." ' He is supported by Jervis who 
remarks that ' in the midst of all this confusion, warfare, and 
general disloyalty, the state of revenue and population is said to 
have prospered." Grant Duff too does not support the views of 
Dr. Fryer and the Muslim writers. " The Mahomedan writers, and 
one contemporary English traveller, describe his ( Shivaji's ) 
country as in the worst possible state ; and the former only mention 
him as a depredator and destroyer ; but those districts taken by 
him from Heejapoor, winch had been under the management of 
farmers and direct apents of government, probably experienced 
great benefit by the change." * 

Public Revenue 

12 Heads of income: Having dealt with the main source of 
revenue, we proceed to discuss other heads of public income 
available to the central government during our period. 

Income from culturable domain lands formed part of the land 
revenue and therefore does not require any explanation. Other 
sources of revenue were quite numerous. These have been 
classified below. 

1 . Customs 1 1 . Plunder of hostile territories. 

2. Transit duties 12. Escheat 

3. Excise 13. Forfeitures 

4. Judicial fees and fines for 14. Piracy and capture of ships. 

criminality 15. Ship- wrecks. 

5. Forest revenue 16. Treasure -trove, fisheries and 

6. Profits of mintage mines. 

7. Sales of offices 17. Monopolies 

8. Presents by subjects and 18. Private trade 

officers. 19. Chauth and Sardeshmukhi 

10. Booty in war. 20, Various kinds of cesses. 

1. History of tbe Great Moguls, II, p. 

2. Duff, p. 105. 


13* The Caitoou levied by the Marat ha government at 
seaports, were quite low* The prevalent rate was 2k per cent On 
imports and exports, and this was charged from the English who 
stipulated to pay the usual duties in all places. This is confirmed 
by Peter Mundy who states that in 1655 the customs duty at 
Kajapur was 2$ per cent. It appears that the English secured the 
concession of not paying export duties on their unsold goods, and 
of duty-free export of provisions, timber and fire-wood. They 
desired to procure freedom from transit dues on their imports, but 
if this privilege could not be obtained, they were content to secure 
the same privileges as to customs and other matters which 
they enjoyed Under the Bijapur government. These were probably 
incorporated in the treaty, and granted by Shivaji on the plea of 
being traditional. 1 

Jn their Sanad obtained from Shivaji the English were careful 
to insert one clause which shows that customs officers used to 
harass merchants for exacting money and presents from them. 
Dr. Fryer bitterly complains of the dishonesty and grabbing: 
spirit of the customs officers of the Maratha kingdom. "They are 
neither for public good or common honesty, but their own private 
interest only: They refuse no base offices for their own commodity, 
inviting merchants to come and trade among them, and then rob 
them, or else turmoil them on account of customs; always in a 
corner getting more for themselves than their Master, yet openly 
must seem mighty zealous for their Master's dues; so that trade is 
unlikely to settle where he bath anything to do not with standing 
his country lies all along on the sea-shore, and no goods can be 
transported without his permission; unless they go a great way 
about, as we are forced to do." 8 

European travellers like Sir Thomas Roe, Bernier, Manucci 
and others have frequently complained of the exlortions, bribes, 
villany and harrassing treatment of the customs officers at Surat 
and other places 

. The contemporary documents* are full of complaints regarding 
delay in clearing goods or^over-valuatio" n 
1-2. Shiraji, Part III, ppT. 37-39 41, 45. 

S. 15 


Shivaji had an efficient system of espionage. He had spies and 
news-writers in every important centre to inform him of all that 
was happening m the administration. Then there was a strict 
system of supervision, and his officers used to get decent salaries. 
If in spite of all these precautions, there was so much corruption 
as has been depicted by Dr. Fryer, it must be attributed to the 
method of farming customs. 

As the fixing of the prices of goods depended upon the customs 
officers who were the reunions of a farmer to whom the customs 
were let on contract, exactions and harassment were natural in this 
system. There was probably a Daiogha-customs Superintendent 
on behalf of the government to settle the disputes in every important 
port. If Shivaji followed the Mogul practice of farming the 
customs of each port, the corruption of the officers can be easily 
understood. 1 Moreland has thus summed up his conclusions on the 
taxation system of Akbar. " But in actual practice, the 2j per 
cent ad valorem tax on goods levied by Akbar was a more crushing 
tariff than any tariff that is levied to-day in any civilized country. 
Uncertainty of taxes ; the wide range of taxes; the insatiable 
greed of official?; the frequency of taxes levied by powerful 
individuals on their own account ; the multiplicity of taxes ; and 
the weak protection of life and property on the King's highways 
and in the King's Courts ; all these were bound to kill all enterprise 
And initiative in trade/ 1 

14. Transit duty known as Rahdari or Zakat in Mar at hi, 
was a small tax on goods and animals passing from one place to 
another, but it grew to be a very burdensome and an oppressive 
levy on account of the search oi persons and packages and the 
presents demanded by the officers. Hundreds of English and 
Dutch documents condemn this universal practice. The Europeans 
tried to secure exemption from the payment of transit dues in the 
territory wherein they had commercial dealings, but Indians had 
no escape from them, 

1. The values of goods imported and exported by the English wefe k to be 
fixed at every custom bouse by favourable merchants. If this was the .general 
practice* it must bare given much relief to all (fee merchants. 


> The famous Muslim historian Khafi Khan writes that " the 
Kahdari was condemned by righteous and just men as a most 
vexatious impost, and oppressive to travellers. Through the 
villany and oppression of the toll-collectors and the Zamindars, the 
property, the honour, and the lives of travellers and peaceful 
-wayfarers were frittered away." We have no evidence to show 
how far the evils of this oppressive levy were mitigated in the 
Maratha Swaraj. 1 

15. Excise Di tier- It has already been shown that Shivaji 
was deadly opposed to the use of intoxicants by his soldiers and 
officers, but there is no evidence available to prove that the 
common people were prohibited from using liquors. The Peshwas 
later on followed the prohibitory policy. The sale of liquor like its 
manufacture, must have been taxed. When there were taxes on 
ordinary shop-keepers, liquor-sellers could not be exempted from 
them. We have no evidence on the control of the sale of intoxicants 
like opium, Bhang, Ganja, Charas, etc. The income from excise 
duty must have been a small one. The rate of a tax on liquor 
shops in the town of Athni is given 2 in a Marathi document. 

16. Judicial fees: The winning party had to pay Harki and 
the losing party paid Gunehgari or crime fine. 

In adultery cases contributions, fines, harkis, etc., used to be 
taken by the government. 

Then Harki and Shela were imposed by the government for 
the penance prescribed by the Ecclesiastical Department. 

The amount of these presents and fines charged in various 
cases can be partially known from the study of documents. In 
civil cases the government used to take about 25% of the sum in 
dispute during the Peshwa period, but no information is available 
for the regime of Shivaji. 8 

1. A letter of 1681 names officers employed for collection of transit dmties. 
They were ordered not to charge duties on certain cattle. Sh. Ch, S., II, pp. 
181, 187, 385. 

2. Sb. Ch. S M II, 370. <3. Sanads and Letters by M, & P. Pp. 128-130. 


17. Forest re?eooe must have accrued from the sale of trees, 
herbs, myrobalans, pepper, spices and other products. Similarly, 
some income must have been realized from pasture-lands paying 
Vancharai cess on the grazing of cattle. 

18. The profits of mintage could not have been large, since the 
right was given to rich goldsmiths by taking a royalty. The royal 
mint which seems to have been established after the coronation,, 
must have increased the income from this source. 

19. The sale of offices was a very common practice in Muslim 
kingdoms. Large sums were paid by the new occupants to squeeze 
merchants, peasants and people in general to their hearts' content 
in the shortest passible time, so that when they were replaced by 
others, they should have sufficiently enriched themselves. In 1616 
one man had to pay 800 Hons as a present for securing the Patilship 
-of a village. 1 1200 Hons were given for the same village in 1643.* 

Two years' revenue was given as a present 3 in another case. 
Shivaji did not generally follow this practice. 

21. The presents given by the English, the officers and the 
people to Shivaji at his coronation, by the Europeans in his 
Karnatic expedition, by the ruler of Golconda at interviews with 
him, need mention here as examples. 

21. Contribntions and tributes by states The Bijapur and 
Golconda kingdoms used to pay him annual tribute and 
contributions, as well as special subsidies for carrying on war 
against the Moguls. He obtained tribute from the rulers of Sunda 
and Madura for some years. The Golconda subsidy of 3,000 
Hons a day for the Karnatic war, is quite well-known. The annual 
tribute of one lakh Hons paid by Golconda 4 from 1677, is worth 
mentioning. Shivaji demanded from the Portuguese ' his tribute 
of choutry ( chauth ) or the fourth part of the revenue of their 
country.' This was not the chauth for Daman, but for the whole 
country under the Portuguese rule.* 
1-3. P. S. S. Ill, 12, 30, 41. 

4. Sarkar, Shiraji, pp. 289, 295. 

5. Shivaji, Part III, p. 30. 


22. Booty in wir The enormous plunder obtained By the 
Mafrathas in the wars with Afzal Khan, Kustum Xaman, Shaista 
Khan, Bahadur Khan and several Bijapur generals is now 
well-known to the reader. 

23. Plunder ind ransom The sacks of Kajapur, Surat, Ratbag, 
Hubli, the Portuguese territory, Shahpur-the richest suburb of 
Bijapur, Dharangaon, Chhapra, Ahmednagar, are the most famous 
events in the political career of Shivaji. He plundered the Karnatic 
so thoroughly that it was ' peeled to the bones ' by his system of 
* organized pillage. 1 The capture of the treasures led by Baji 
Ghorpade and the loot of Shaista's camp form romances by 

Large sums of money were often secured as ransom for 
releasing the prisoners of war. Then gifts were usually received 
from the people of the newly conquered parts. 

24. Escheat: The principle that the state is the proprietor of all 
the property to which individual claims are lost, has been prevalent 
in all countries. The Hindu law recognizes it, though it was very 
much limited on account of the extremely liberal laws of succession 
and adoption in case of intestate death of issueless persons. 

The Mogul Emperor was the heir to the property of all his 
subjects even in cases where the progeny of the deceased existed. 
Here is the evidence of Bernier. " The courtiers are often not even 
descendants of Omrahs, because, the King being heir of all their 
possessions, no family can long maintain its distinction, but, after 
the Omrah's death, is soon extinguished, and the sons, or at least 
the grandsons, reduced generally, we might almost say, to beggary, 
and compelled to enlist as mere troopers in the cavalry of 
some Omrah. 

The Omrahs, therefore, mostly consist of adventurers from 
different nations who entice one another to the court ; and arc 
generally persons of low descent, some having been originally 
slaves, and the majority being destitute of education. The Mogol 
raises them to dignities, or degrades them to obscurity, according 
to his own pleasure and caprice." * 
1. Travels, p. 211. 


Shivaji was very liberal in granting concessions to the people 
in the matter of escheat. We have a few letters on the settlement 
of new markets and towns. The merchants are given the right 
to dispose of the property in cases of issueless persons according to 
the award of the traders' Panchayat. 1 

Even a Brahman Jyotishi in case of being issueless is given in 
1659 the right of disposing of his hereditary rights and property 
according to the wishes of his family. 2 

Another sanad of 16S5 confers the full and complete right of 
enjoying the property of the grantee in case of dying issueless 
to hi^ relatives, the o\en,mrnt having no claim to it. 3 

By renouncing his claim to escheats, Shivaji encouraged trade 
and secured contentment among his subjects. 

25. Forfeitures of Watans and Inams ( Watan zapti ) were 
usual for disloyalty to the throne. Shivaji in curtailing the powers 
of the feudal lords, might have forfeited some Inams, but he 
followed a conciliatory policy to win over the old aristocrats to his 
cause. All orders of confiscation and restoration of property were 
written by the Private Secretary of the Raja. A present ( Nazar ) 
was usually offered by the adopted and even perhaps by the natural 
sons on succession. This worked as a succession duty. At the 
time of the grant of new watans or of the confirmation of an old 
watan, Harki or Sherni were charged by the government. 4 

26. Piracy and deliberate capture of ships Shivaji's exploits m 
capturing the Pilgrim vessels of the Moguls and the Portuguese 
ships have already been described. The depredations of the 
Maratha fleet on the enemy coast were constantly going on. The 
English in their treaty with Shivaji made a special stipulation to 
the effect that their goods laden on ships belonging to other 
Europeans or the Indian people would be restored to them and 
that they too would restore the goods belonging to Shivaji or his 
subjects if laden on any ship captured by them.* 

1-3. Sh. Ch. S., II, 304, 345, 370, 374, 384, 386; cf. P. S. S. Ill, p, 3. 

4. Sanads and Letters by M. and Parasnis, p. 128. 

5. Sbivaji, Part III, p. 24, 40. 


27. Shipwrecks The English took special pains in persuading 
the ministers of Shivaji to restore the ships wrecked or cast by 
storm on the shores of the Maratha kingdom. The ministers rightly 
argued that the French, the Dutch and other merchants would 
have to be granted the same privilege. This could not be granted 
as " it was positively against the laws and constitutions that had 
been handed down to them from the Nizamshahi kingdom and by 
which they were then governed." ' 

28. Treasure- trove, fisheries and mines: The right to hidden 
treasure has always been claimed by the state in India from time 

In a letter of 1737 many traditional dues of the government are 
mentioned. Income from forests, fisheries, mines and treasure-trove 
are among the list. 9 

29. Monopolies: In the Mogul Empire the Emperor and 
Governors used to have monopolies of various kinds in their own 
hands or in those of their favourites. Shaista Khan monopolized 
the bazaar that followed his own camp in the Deccan wars. 3 

SO. Maritime trade: The Marathi documents of the period 
do not throw any light on the point, nor do the Europeans refer 
to any monopolies enjoyed by Shivaji. Even in 1665 the English 
records inform us that Shiva had possession of 8 or 9 ports on the 
sea shore and " from every port he used to send two or three or 
more trading vessels to Persia, Basra, Mocha, etc." Thus in 1665 
from twenty to thirty ships were engaged in the foreign trade. 
Their number must have increased with the wealth, power and 
prestige ot the Raja. Even his officers sent ships to Persia and 
Arabia on their own behalf. 

The government must have levied fees for the entry and stay 
of ships and boats in the waters and ports under its sovereignty. 
This income must have increased with, the extension of the kingdom 
and the growth of the coastal as well as sea-borne trades. 

1. Shivaji, Part III, p. 24. 

2. Sh. Ch. S., II, p. 304. 

3. English Records, I, p. 9 1 . 


Tfct Chaith 

31. Orifin of Chantb A detailed history of the Chauth and 
of Shivaji's demand for the same from the Portuguese have already 
been discussed. 1 It is interesting to note that even Aurangzeb 
liad claimed Chauth in 1639 from the people of Daman. He 
lived at Daulatabad as Viceroy of the Deccan for more than three 
years, and yet the Portuguese did not offer any present to him. 
The Moguls had conquered the principality of Baglan and all the 
district round Daman. Thereupon the prince deputed Mir Murad 
with 5,000 horse and as many foot to chastise the Portuguese 
by laying siege to Daman. Aurangzeb asked the Dutch to 
blockade the town from the sea. He promised to gratify them with 
200,000 rupees in ready money, * the quarter part of the provenne 

-of the whole country ' and customs of the goods imported and 
exported by them, 8 but the Dutch did not give that help. The Moguls 
could not reduce the place even after a close siege of five months 
and then they were afraid of reprisals by the Portuguese on their 
merchant shipping. But the people of Daman were much harassed 
by the war, and hence they hastened to make peace with the Mogul 
commander. " The Portugal inhabitants of Daman had obliged 
themselves to pay the Prince the same rent they were accustomed 
to give the Raja of that country, viz., 60,000 Muhmudis said to be 
the quarter part of the provenue of that land"* Thus Aurangzeb 
got the right of collecting the Chauth which is wrongly called rent 
in the preceding letter. It was this very right which Shivaji 
claimed when he conquered the Ramnagar territory and put an 
nd to the Mogul sovereignty in the Konkan. 

32. Nature of Chauth Before and during the time of Shivaji, 
Chauth was a contribution exacted by a strong prince from 
the people of a state to give immunity from his raids. As 
the Raja of Ramnagar was collecting Chauth from some 
villages of Daman and Bassein, for giving immunity to their 

1. Shivaji, Part III, pp. 524-531. 

2. O. C. 1658, 15th January 1639; O. C. 1725, 9 December 1639, 

3. E. F, Vol. 1637-41, p. 214. 

1 28 . SHI VAJI THE GREAT . * 

inhabitants from the marauding expeditions of his forces, he was 
known ' Chauthia ' or one who collected Chauth. Shivaji, after 
capturing the territory of Kamnagar in 1672, claimed this Chauth 
from the Portuguese who were the rulers of Daman and Bassein. 
He adopted and extended this system with the twofold object of 
mitigating the evil consequences of war and of securing a regular 
source of revenue for the maintenance of his army. Thus he gave 
an opportunity to the subjects of hostile countries to pay an annual 
contribution for buying off immunity from the raids of the Maratha 
forces and thereby escape from loot, arson, fire, massacre and 
other horrors of war. 

According to Manucci Shivaji had obtained a grant of Chauth 
in the Mogul Deccan as early as 1658. " He sent Shivaji presents, 
together with a golden tablet, by which he granted to him the 
collection of a fourth part of the revenues of some provinces in the 
Deccan province, then held by Aurangzeb. This grant was to be 
perpetual ; all the same, the time came when he broke his word 
according to his habit." It appears that Shivaji used to collect 
this chauth irom some parts of the Mogul territories, because during 
the rebellion of Shah Alam he promised not to realize any more of 
the revenue than what was conceded to him by Aurangzeb. ' 

It is certain that Shivaji had knowledge of the Chauth 
contribution before 1664, because he demanded it from Aurangzeb 
to save Surat from his raids in that year. Soon after the first loot 
of this richest port, Shivaii threatened to rape it once more unless 
the king would give him peaceably " the fourths of what he receives 
of the town and country yearly which is too dishonourable for the 
king to accept." The Great Mogul not only discarded this 
presumptuous demand, but sent another big army under the able 
generalship of Raja Jaisingh to crush this dreadful raider. The 
latter bided his time, till in 1670 he was able to re-plunder Surat. 
On his departure he sent a letter a to the officers and chief 
merchants demanding twelve lacs of rupees as an annual tribute 

1. Manned, I, 247 ; II, 25, 165. 

2. ShiTaji, Part II, pp. 29?., 323, 326, 345. 

S. 16 


tram them, and confidently assured them of his return if they ttii 
Mot ptjr the same to him. 

It is now evident that the tribute demanded from the 
authorities of Surat in 1664 and 1670 was no other than Chauth. 
The sum claimed in different years as ' Chauth ' varied considerably. 
In 1670 it was 12 lakhs ; and two years later, it was reduced to 3 
lakhs annually, so that nine lakhs were demanded by Moro Pant as 
4 Chauth * for the past three years. ' 

In 1672 after a successful invasion of Ramnagar, Moro Pant 
Advanced towards Surat and once more " demanded the Chouthy 
or ith part of the king's revenues under this government which 
amounts to four lakhs." The same news is conveyed by the Surat 
Factors to Bombay with an additional information for showing the 
cause of collecting the contribution. Shivaji declared that " as 
their king ( Aurangzeb ) had forced him to keep an army for the 
defence of his people and country, so that army must be paid and 
if they sent him not the money speedily, he bid them make ready 
a large house for him."* 

There are several evidences available from the English records 
that Shivaji gave immunity from plunder to all those places which 
Agreed to pay him the Chauth. During his plundering expedition 
in the Berars and Khandesh in 1670, he refrained from looting 
towns and villages near Karanja and Nandurbar as these gave him 
writings for payment of Chauth of the revenues thereof. 9 Kolhapur 
and Saagaon redeemed themselves from the fury of the Maratha 
forces by paying presents in 1675. The Governor of Hubli made 
peace with Shivaji by paying him ith part of the revenues of the 
Hubli Vilayat in 1678. 

A few months after, the Governor of Karwar gave a present 
to the Maratba Subedar, otherwise the latter would have burnt and 
ransacked the town. 4 Finally, thert is the most irrefutable testimoriy 
of the Chhapra letter 'dated 24th February 1680 that the Maratha 

> }. Sfai*tff, **r*llt *$****. #3, 336, 545. 
2-4, Ibid. pp. 1SMSV292-3. 

130 SfflVAji ,THB GREAT k 

forces " plundered and burnt most fo these parts, excepting the 
towns which pay Jth part, those he meddles not." ' Thus the 
demand for 1th part of the revenue of Surat was first made by 
Sbivaji in 1664 and renewed in 1670. In this year it was actually 
imposed for the first time on the territory immediately subject to 
the Moguls and was extended to the various districts which were 
liable to Maratha excursions. 

S3. WroBf notions refardiof Chaotb ' The first pretension of 
Shivaji was to levy from the Rayats as Sar Deshmukhi, ten rupees 
for every hundred levied by the Government. This was afterwards 
followed by a demand of the fourth of the collections, which at 
length was yielded by the Moghuls. The fourth thus acquired is 
called by the Marathas the Chauth: it was immediately divided by 
the prince with his ministers and Sardars.' * 

This view of Elphinstone is erroneous with regard to facts and 
Chronology. The name ' Chauth ' was not given by the Marathas, 
but as shown previously, was extant long before their rise to power. 
Shivaji did not divide the Chauth income with his ministers and 
Sardars. This practice began with Rajaram. The Mogul Emperor 
Aurangzeh never consented to pay Chauth to Shivaji, but it was 
his successor who conceded the grant to Shahu. Then there is no 
evidence to show that Shivaji forcibly collected Sardeshmukhi 
previous to his demand for Chauth in 1664* 

The history of Chauth given by the late Justice Ranade in the 
* Rise of the Maratha Power ' is also not based on facts. He writes 
that in 1668 the Bijapur Adilshahi kings agreed to pay three lakhs 
of rupees on account of Chauth and Sardeshmuki and the Golconda 
ruler agreed to pay five lakhs about the same time* The Bakhafs 
use the word ' Khandani,' subsidy or tribute. There is no mention 
of either Chauth or Sardeshmukhi at this time. 

Similarly, he says that both these levies were exacted from the 
Mogul province of Khandesh in 1671, the Portuguese possessions 

1. Shivaji, III, p. 212. 

2. Elpbinttone, Report on the Territories conquered from tbc Peshwa* 
pp. 284-3. 


in the Konkan in 1674, and in the Karnatic in 1676. Shivajt 
levied Chauth but not Sardeshmukhi from these territories. ' J 

Dr. Sen has rightly observed that the Chauth paid to Ramnagar 
was not a tribute, but a pension, and the ' Chauthia ' Raja was 
a vassal of the Portuguese. It was a subsidy like the one which 
the Indian Government has been paying to the tribes for keeping 
peace and order on the frontier. Shivaji merely got the idea 
from this practice, but he gave it a different connotation and 
used it on an extensive scale. He made it an impost, collected 
it at the point of the sword, extended it to all those places 
which were to be plundered and thus afforded an opportunity 
to the people to buy off immunity from his raids by the payment 
of the Chauth. Hence this levy assumed a new form and, in time, 
became an essential part of the Maratha financial system. For 
this reason Shivaji can be called the originator and organizer of 
the Chauth system. 

Moreover, this contribution had no features common to tho 
subsidiary system introduced by the British in India, because this 
was generally levied by force ; it was not a voluntary payment in 
return for military protection. This was collected from the people 
directly and against the will and order of the rulers, while the 
contribution under the subsidiary system was made to the British 
under an agreement with the ruler himself. The suzerain was 
1x>und to defend the ruler from internal disorder and external 
aggression. Under the system of Chauth Shivaji only undertook 
not to raid the territory himself. Further, there was no binding on v 
the ruler not to enter into correspondence or alliance with other 
rulers-indigenous or foreign. Lastly, there was no stipulation by 

the rulers not to employ foreigners in their civil or military service. 

1 It is evident that no similarity exists between the Chauth and the 
subsidiary system. 

Lastiy, it may be pointed out that in theory Chauth was not a 
claim for one-fourth of the land revenue but ' of all the incomes/ 
is clear from the three examples of Surat, Hubli and Nandurbar 
before. From the Portuguese too he demanded fourth part of 


Hie revenue of their country in 1674, while four years later, 1m 
ransacked the whole territory from Aurangabad to Surat and levied 
Chauth ' of all the incomes.' ' 

In practice it would have been impossible to estimate the total 
'incomes of villages and towns within the short time of a lightning 
raid. Therefore the Maratha officers had to be satisfied with 
whatever they could extort from the people. 

34. Economic collapse of the Moral Eaipire- While the forcible 
levy of Chauth by the Maratbas enriched Shivaji and his subjects, 
it soon brought about the economic bankruptcy of the Mogul 
Empire. Surat, though defended by a wall and well-fortified in 
1669, was plundered second time as the Chauth was not paid. 
From that year onwards the Maratbas were often threatening the 
town, because they did not receive the contribution. These raids 
destroyed the trade and prosperity of the richest port, and created 
a sense of insecurity among the people. The rich and the poor left 
for the growing city of Bombay, and Surat began to decline. The 
territories of Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Khandesh and Berars 
wei;e often pillaged, burnt and destroyed by the Marathas. Trade, 
industry and agriculture were dislocated. The people were reduced 
to abject poverty and the government to financial bankruptcy by a 
sharp decline in revenue. 

The fall in the income of the Deccan Subas and the continuous 
wars against Shivaji compelled Aurangzeb to increase the tbufden 
of taxes on his subjects and to revive the levy of the poll-tax or 
Jazia on the Hindus* The economic and political consequences 
to the decline of the Mogul Empire are thus directly 
to the system of Chauth. 

IS. StttohMtt kcrtdiUry Kico: We learn from a 
document 9 containing the judicial order of Shivaji himself that 
M^vlangkar bo given the right of collecting 
from the districts of Prabhavali gq$ Dabhd. As 

*. skirfcji, fan, P pu so, is*. 


right had been, enjoyed for generations by that family, it w*ft 
evidently a very ancient one. From the Sardesai Family History 
( Part I, p. 43 ) it appears that one Krishnaji Narsingh who, was a 
contemporary of the Shilahar King Vijayaditya of Kolhapur 
< 1142-1154 A. D. ), obtained the Deshmukhi and Sardeshmukhi of 
seventy villages. Thus the system of giving grants for Sardeshmukhi 
can be traced to the 12th century A. D. Besides the Mavlangkars, 
Khem Savant was Sardesai of Kudal as is evident from a document 
of the year 1635-36. A generation later in 1659, a treaty was made 
between Shivaji and Lakh am Savant Sardesai Bahadur. 1 But the 
hereditary title and office were not limited to the Konkan as is 
asserted by the late distinguished historian C. V. Vaidya. He was 
sure that there were no Sardeshmukhs in Maharashtra before or 
in Shivaji's time, but this statement is contradicted by the 
following evidence. 

36. Sirdethmukhi in Maharashtra (i) One Deshmukh of 
Kanadkhore was given Inam of Sardeshmukhi of Anturli village 
by Dadaji Kond Deva, the Subedar of Kondana, in 1645.' 

(ii) That there were Sardeshmukhs in the Mavals different 
from Deshmukhs, is seen from a letter written by Shivaji in 1652 
to the Karkuns, Sardeshmukhs, Deshmukhs, Desh Kulkarnis, etc., 
of Turf Mosekhore.* 

4i) A letter was written in 1668 by Shivaji to the Subedar 
and "Skrttun of Poona wherein he was also addressed as 
Sardeshmukb. 4 

(iv) Aurangzeb himself conferred Sardeshmukhi of Nusrataba4 
in 1658. * 

( v) Letters are addressed to the Sardesai of 
(Dabhol) and Muzafarabad ( Prabhavali ), 
Turf Sangameshwar in 1659.* 

(vi) There are two Adilshahi lett 

Sardesai's right in a place in thel 
1-6. P. S. S, Docs. 27$-9, 397, 307, 73* 745; 78| 


third from Shivaji continuing the Adilshahi rights to one Nagojt 
Naik Sardesai, wherein the Sardeshmukhi dues are stated. " 

( vii ) An arbitration was held in 1636 at some place in the 
Mamla ot Mazafarabad and Fort Khelna. Therein three Sardesais 
were present along with other officers. 

( viii ) From a letter of 1642, it appears that Sardeshmukhi 
had been prevalent in the Poona district for several generations. 
Exemption from the cess of Sardeshmukhi along with other cesses 
was given to the grantee in Jejuri. 1 There is a mention of another 
traditional grant of Sardeshmukhi in letters of 1696 and 1712 A. D, 
in the district of Supa.* 

( ix ) In the grants to the Gosavi of Margaon in the district 
of Poona exemption from several cesses then current in the Deccan 
and especially in that district, has been given. Among the cesses 
one for Sardeshmukhi was fully recognized in Maharashtra. 4 

( x ) Another arbitration was held in 1652 at Khanapur in 
the Mamla of Walwa, Among the numerous officers one Sardesai 
was also present.* 

( xi ) We read of Sardesai 's shares in the two documents of 
1685, giving various cesses in that year. 6 

( xii ) Shivaji himself conferred the Sardeshmukhi of Dabhol 
on Balaji Avaji. 7 

The Bijapur Sultan issued an order to the Deshmukh of 
Thana Mudhol in 1670- There was a Desai in Athni in 1658 9 
Desai of Wai, Shirwal and of Karad in 1642, Kanhoji Jedhe Desai 
of Fort Rohida in 1638 and Kedarji Khopade Desai of Turf Bhor 
in 1648, and Desai of Kharepatan 8 in 1658. 

Letters to the Desai of Pargana Kolhapur in 1660 and 1661 
from Bijapur are available. 9 Desai Kanhoji Jedhe is called 

1. Sh. Ch. S. It, pp. 390-98. 
2-6. Sh. Ch. S. II, 170, 173, 380-1; III, 133, 162, 164, 219 ; IV, pp. *-5. 

7- Chitnis,?l8ec: 

, B. P. S. S. Docs. 76*, 1832, 2455, 2459, 2478-88, 2539, 3567, 2723. 
9. P. S. S. Docs, 545. 840, 2641. 2643. 2651. 2652. 2654-54. 


Desbmukh of Rohida in a San ad of 1660. It is, therefore, evident 
that the title Desai was also known as Deshmukh, and Sardesai 
was synonymous with Sardeshmukh even under the Adilshahi and 
Mogul regimes. These officials were not limited to Sawantwadi or 

-even to the other parts of the Konkan, but were found in several 
parts of Maharashtra. Sardeshmukbs were common in the Konkan, 
the Mawals, Poona, Bankapur, Dharwar, etc., under the Bijapur 

government and even in the Mogul provinces. Desai officers 
functioned in such parts of the Karnatic as Terdal, Mudhol* 
Manglage, Athni, Torga), Tawargiri, etc., Similarly, Deshmukhs 

flourished also in Khandesh and the Berars, but Sardeshmukbs 

were not so common. 

37. Sirdeshmktii a cess - It should be borne in mind that 
Sardeshmukhi was not one-tenth part of the land-revenue, but it 
was only a cess like so many other cesses to be paid by the 
cultivator over and above the land revenue. In a grant by Shahji 
Raje dated 1625 the Sardeshmukbi cess (<H^UJJ<w^t) is counted 
along with the cesses given to goldsmiths, payposhi, etc. There 
is an important grant of 1671 endorsed by the Sardeshmukh of 
Poona as representative of Shivaji himself wherein the contribution 
given to the Sardeshmukh is insignificant, being only 4| out of 
532 Takas. Similarly, in the revenue account of village Khore in 
the district of Poona the Sardeshmukhi cess is mentioned as four 
out of 500 Takas. 1 

This nature of Sardeshmukhi is shown by several other grants. 
The Deshmukh's rights were many and quite different from those 
of Sardeshmukbs. The claim of -rVth part of the land-revenue 
as Sardeshmukhi must have been started, if at all, by Shivaji 
in the latter part of his regime. It can bfe definitely said that 
even in Shivaji's time and before him Sardeshmukhi was only 
a cess. 

Now it should be noted in passing that Shivaji had demanded 
the Desbmukhi and not Sardeshmukhi of Junnar and Ahmednagar 
1. , Sb. Ch, & VII, pp. 14, 90, 112. 

136 SHtt A Jt T*B GltEA* 

from Princ^ Muradbux in 1649. though he was feittftte* 
Sftrikestotokhi as he had himself made several 

Deshmukhs were well-known throughout Maharashtra 
hence there wad nothing novel in the request of Shivaji for being 
granted Deshmukhi of the two districts. There is no mention of 
Sardeshmukhi here. Moreover, it was a small cess, not wortk 
having. Deshmukhi alone gave him substantial rights of collecting 

18. Concluding remarks. The study of numerous documents 
leads us to the following conclusions: 

(1) Shivaji was not the originator of the Sardeshmukhi tax 
which afterwards came to mean one -tenth of the Jand- revenue. 

(2) Sardeshmukhi was only a small cess and it existed long 
before the days of Shivaji. In fact, it is traceable to the twelfth 
century A. D* 

(3) It was not limited to the Konkan f but was found in the- 
Karnatic and Maharashtra. 

(4) The Bijapur rulers, Aurangzeb and Shivaji himself 
conferred or confirmed the Sardeshmukhi right during the forty 
years of 1640-80 A. D. 

(5) AH writers like Duff, Elphinstone, Ranade and a host of 
others who attribute the origin or the collection of Sardeshmukhi 
to Shiva, are incorrect. 

Supplementary Sources 

39. Cestes or Abwab* In addition to the main sources of 
revenue there were many 'minor taxes levied from the people 
of villages and towns* There were known as Swat Jama or 
supplementary collections. We will call them cesses, though 
some of them are taxes, fees, fines and even loans. A few 
of these were surtaxes for imperial purposes, but many cases 
provided funds for local objects* It is difficult to distribute the 

I, P. S. S, Doc, 575, 

1 Sh. Ch. S. VII, 90, U2, c 

S. If 


latter into urban an* mat beads of income, because some of fheafr 
were collected in both the areas, while regarding others we do 0t 
possess definite information. A rough classification is proposed in 
this section* 

4t. Imperial iaeeve consisted of surtaxes charged by the 
government as Meeraspatti* Inantpatti. Duhuhpatti, Hahar 
Mahili, Hakpatti on the incomes of the persons named in each 
case. ' Dr. Sen has explained Meeraspatti as an additional tax 
levied once in three years on Meerasdars; Inampatti as an 
emergency tax on Inamdars ; Duhukpatti as a special tax on 
Deshmukhs or Deshpandes ; Mahar Mahili as a tax on hoidi&g 
Inams, and Hakpatti as one fourth of the fees levied every year* 
Besides these, the following cesses might have been collected 
for imperial use. 

( i ) Hutnayun Patti is explained by Dr. Sen as a tax levied 
for celebrating the royal birthday. 9 

( ii ) Marriage 3 cess known as Lagnapati and Patpati 
( mz tret ) in Marathi was much prevalent from ancient times. It 
was continued like many other cesses by Shivaji and his successors* 
It was levied even during the reigns of Akbar and Aurangzeb. 

( iii ) A tax on documents 4 ( <h4IcT| <TCT ) was collected 
probably for central purposes. 

( iv ) Jangampattt-A tax on the Shaiva Lingayats was levied 
by the Vijayanagar monarchs and might have been continued by 
the Maratha rulers. In the grants of 1646 and 1647 given by 
Shivaji himself this cess is mentioned. 

( v ) Jang pan ( ^fi q^ft ) by its meaning seems to be a 
war cess, but Mohimpatti or expedition cess is separately stated. 
Therefore this cess might have been collected for defensive wars. 

( vi ) Mchim* patti was levied to meet the expenses of special 
expeditions for defensive or offensive purposes. 

1. Sb. Ch. S. Ill, 140. 146, 148, 151, 153, 164; Sen, Ad. S, 11. O. 306. 

3-4. II, 17*. 30*. 

5. ni.m, I** u*. 


. ( vii ) Gad * patti or a fort-cess used to be levied. Shiva, 
imposed this tax on the villages in the district of Belgaum to build 
360 forts there. 

( viii ) Nazar or succession duty was paid by Inamdars and 
government servants. 

41* Town levies were probably the following. Shete Mahajan 
was an officer of Market towns as the Patil was in a village. He 
had his Watan or hereditary rights and perquisites. For instance, 
he had the right to take at stated periods fixed portions of each and 
every article sold in the market. Thus the government did not pay 
him much. The citizens paid for the maintenance of their leader, 
and he, in return, took every care to promote the interests of the 
town.* Shete, Mahajan, Sar Shete, Patansheti, Mutsadvani, etc. 
had also their shares s in some market-towns. 

Octroi duty ( Jakat ) or toll was levied on the entry of goods 
in towns. Then cesses on the purchase and sale of certain goods 
{ called *T33)? and *R5?rffa ) were included under the octroi 
duty. There were special octroi officers or Kamavisdars in this 
department. 4 

In some places there was a cess called Khot Jakat paid to the 
hereditary landlords called Khots. 5 

Mohtarfa was a tax on trades and occupations. Shopkeepers, 
goldsmiths, blacksmiths, oilmen, potters, shoemakers, etc. had to 
pay it. A tax called Mohtarfa Kul ( J?rfcPTT jpy) might have been 
levied on families like a poll-tax. 

Sales tax A cess on the sale of oils, ghee, fodder, etc. was 
quite common. These taxes formed part of the old Hindu system 
as these are allowed by Manu, Kautilya and other law-givers. 7 

Police cess called Thanapatti or Kotwaleepatti, was collected 

1. Sbivaji, Part III, 178. 

2. Sen, Ad. S. M,, p. 334. 

3. Sh. Cb. S., I, 66, 86, 106; II, 304, 343; III, 144. 146, 164; VI, 8. 
4-6. Sh. Cb. S., II, pp. 181. 207 213, 220, 245, 250, 304, 316. 

7. Ibid. Ill, pp. 148, 151, 15^, 162, 166; Sen, Ad. S., M,, p. 535 ff 


to meet the expenses of Thana or police stations in villages and 
towns. 1 

, Guest cess ( ^T^RT ) might havn been collected to meet the 
expenses of touring officers. 9 

Tutpatti 3 ( <jj qt ) was a cess to cover some loss, as in 
measuring liquids and cloths, etc. 

Bat-Chhapai * ( ff W$i ) was a fee on the annual 
examination of weights and measures. A somewhat similar cess 
called qzf <IF5Wr *s often mentioned. 

There was an allied fee called Tag or Tagadi on scales for 
weighing bulky articles. * 

Stamping of cloths ( Chhap ) manufactured for sale was 'a 
rule. Sellers of unstamped cloths were fined. For examining the 
cloth and putting a stamp on it, a fee was charged by the 

42. The rural cesses levied from time to time were so numerous 
and so varied that it is not possible to give a detailed account in 
this section. A cursory glance on the names and nature of the 
manifold levies will reveal an oppressive burden on the poor 
cultivator. From the time that he cut his crop to the time that he 
sold it, he was subject to so many exactions that he could hardly 
have any decent living for himself and his family. The one relieving 
feature was the customary nature of the cesses. Their number 
and the amount to be given in a particular locality were fixed by 
custom. Some of these were levied in kind, and a few in cash. 
The cultivators must have been living in extreme poverty and in 
constant awe of the myrmidons of government who like locusts 
were to devour his crop. Sometimes these rights were disputed/ 
Grievances of the people were removed by the decisions of the 
arbitration courts or by the orders of the king. 

1. Sh. Ch. S. f II. pp. 158. 213, 369; HI, 153, 164, 166. 

2-3. Ibid. IJI, pp. 144, 148, 151. 

4-5. Sh, Qfc &> H 304. Ill, 148, 151. 

, ,6. Sfe, Cti, S., II, p. 207. 


P*wqui*itcs and fees to officers Various officers used to tak* 
some articles or money from the villagers and towns people. Som* 
of these were : 

1. Subedar 11. Kamavisdar ' 

2. Sardbshmukh or Sardesai 12. Pati), Mukaddam or Chaudhari 

3. Deshmukh or Desai 13. Kulkarni or Karkun 

4. Deshpande 14. Chaugule 

5. Deshkulkarni 15. Nadgauda 

6. Sabnis 16. Potdar 

7. Pbadnis 17. Jyotishi or Joshi 
& Satkfeail 1 8. Upadhyaya 

9. Sarnaik 19. Judge ( Dharmadbikaii, 

10. Mahaldar Ashta-adhikari > 

20. Village as a whole 

Some of these officers had their shares in the crops raised by 
the cultivators and they had their own Watans or tends given to 
them by the state. Besides these, all the non-agriculturists who ij* 
one way or another helped the agriculturists in their work or 
assisted the village community as a whole, were given shares from 
tbe produce, and some of these too had lands from the government* 
The non-agricultural workers were divided into two classes of 
twelve Balutas and twelve Alutas. 

43. The Balftas played an important part in the economic 
and political life of the village. They were hereditary workers in 
several occupations. Both Hindus and Muslims were caste-ridden 
in this sphere. Irrespective of caste, creed or social position each 
Baluta had his own part to play in the daily life of the village. 
While every one of these artisans had a share of grains from every 
cultivator at the harvest time and some of them had lands given to 
them for their maintenance, they performed service or gave articles 
to the villagers and officers. Instead of levying taxes in moaey from 
t|*e artisans and labourers, their labour or commodities made by 

1, Sh. Ch. S. II, 219. 303,^17, 327, 339. 344; IH, 146, 153, 213; VH.105* 


i were demanded according to the dictates of the Hindu 
The state is authorized to requisition the service of artisaos 
mechanics aod labourers for one day in each month. 

We can trace the existence of the twelve Balutas in the 
villages of Maharashtra from the 13th century onwards. Even now 
they exist in many parts of the Deccan. Their names vary in 
different places, and all the Twelve Balutas may not exist in each 
\ illage, but the system of the Twelve Balutas still persists in some 
of the villages. Tn an arbitration document of 1675 relating to a 
village in the Mawals, their names are given, and some of these 
are described as Mirasi or hereditary. A Patalki Watan was granted 
by Shivaji to one Bak&ji Pharzand in 1675. The Sanad of the 
Raja was brought before the Gots and Balutas for information. 
This was signed by headmen of several villages, and the witnesses 
consisted of the Balutas of the village proper. 1 

Grant Duff gives' the names of the Balutas as carpenter, 
smith, cobbler, Mang, potter, barber, washerman, Gurav, Joshi, 
Bhat, Maulana. The Alutas were goldsmith, Jangam, tailor, 
weaver, Taral, gardener, oilman, Gosavi, Ramoshi, TamboJi, 
<7ondhali ( Musician ), Gharshi ( low caste singers ). 

Another list of Balutas has Patil, Kulkarni, Chaudhari, Potdar,,- 
Deshpaade, Joshi, Gurav, barber, washerman, carpenter, potter, 
Mahar. The Atotus are said to be oilman, TamboJi, Sali, gardener, 
Jaagavn, Kaivant, Dabarya, Thakar, Gharshi, Taral, goldsmith, 

The Pat if was head of the village administration. He was the 
most important link between the government and the people. He 
allotted laads and helped in fixing the rents* He collected the revenue 
and managed to remit it to the Taluka treasury. He was to improve 
agriculture and promote the prosperity of the villagers. It was he 
who represented the governmental needs to the people and the 
grievances of the villagers to the government. He was to help all 
tourmg officers in tin performance of their duties* He was to 
1. Sh. Ch. S, II, 272, 274, 278; III, 

142 /rSHtvitji THE GREAT* 

and prevent all thefts- and crimes with the help of 
watchmen. He also worked as head of the village Pancfaayat and 
represented his village in ail political and judicial matters. Such 
an important functionary held hereditary watan land? and enjoyed 
rights and perquisites in the village. He was neither elected by 
the people nor appointed by the government. His was a hereditary 
office which could be sold and purchased in part or in toto. In 
case of partial sale of the Inam and its rights, there could be more 
than one Patil-all together enjoying the fixed or customary rights 
and privileges. In some cases 1 Police Patils were different from 
Civil Patils. 

The village accountant was known as Kulkarni, Gaon * 
Kulkarni, or Lekhak. He performed all the writing work of the 
village administration, kept the records and prepared the village 
returns. He helped the villagers by keeping their accounts with 
the creditors, Along with the Headman, he used to stand surety 
for regular payment of all dues from the villagers and for their good 
conduct and loyalty. His rights and perquisites, though less than 
those of the Patil, were quite numerous.* 

A Chaugula assisted the village officers in the village 
administtation and had Watan lands and perquisites given to him. 

The Potdar was the goldsmith or sonar to test the 
genuineness of the coins and to see whether they had the prescribed 
weight and proportion of the metal. Sometimes one Potdar used to 
do this work for more than one village. He used to get remuneration 
from the village and even from the government for testing the 
money received in revenue. 

A Mahar belonged to the untouchable caste and lived quite 
outside the boundaries of the village, because he used to impale 
dead animals and preserve their hides. Yet he served as one of 
the Twelve Balutas, worked as a peon of the officers and as a 
watchman of the village. He used to carry money and government 
reports to the higher officials, In return he enjoyed certain customary 

1-2. Sen, Ad, S. M, Pp. 2(5-224, 227. 


rights and perquisites, and got share of -grain at the harvest time. 
He too had his Watani lands. In some parts the work of the 
village watchman was done by Ramoshis. They used to be on 
patrol duty at night, and helped the Patil in the arrest of criminals. 

44. Every big village had its own astrologer ( Joshi ) who 
made horoscopes, fixed the dates of marriages and pointed out 
good or bad omens. There was a Brahman or Upadhaya to perform 
religious ceremonies. Similarly, there was a Kazi or Dhannadhikari 
to decide law cases. 

The remaining officials were local and central agents with 
rights of perquisites and levies fixed by custom or the government. 
The grantees of this category differed from village to village and 
time to time on account of local tradition, the economic importance 
of villages and the necessities of the government. Besides the 
shares paid to the government officers and public servants included 
among the Balutas and Alutas, there were other levies paid by the 

Village Levies Shingott 1 cess on breeding of animals 
like cows, oxen, buffaloes, goats, horses, etc. was levied in the 
Deccan. This cess had its counterpart in the north where it was 
known as Gaushumari and Ashva Jakati. The latter was on the 
sale of horses. 

Unth Patti f or cess on camels, and Gajpatti a tax on 
elephants are self-evident. 

Then one Sail Bail 9 ( %& %^) or cess on transport cattle, is 
separately mentioned in several grants* 

A tax on trees was called Sardarakati * or Jhad-Jh&dora 
in the Deccan. It cannot be definitely said whether it was levied 
on fruit trees only or even on other trees used as timber and fuel. 

Grazing fee ( Van charai ) for grazing cattle on government 

1. Sh. Ch. S. II, pp. 316. 383, 386. 

2, Sh. CH. S. Ill, p. 162. 

3. II, .. 170; III, 162. 

4, .. M ., III. ., 173. 316. 


was quite common* Attpd to it was a fee ( Ghaskata* 
for cutting grate on state lands. 

Forest dues Some fees must have been levied on taking 
away fuel, timber, bamboos, herbs, fruits, myrobatans, leaves, 
plants, etc. from the forest. 

. Bdtkati l exacted at the harvesting time, is frequently 

Rarmayasi * was a common cess. It consisted of presents 
of fruits, vegetables, etc. to officers. Tashrufati was another form 
of this cess. 

Tejvpatti * might have been a cess imposed on landlords for 
their extra profits due to a special rise in prices* One Moreshwar 
Gosawi is feiven exemption from this new cess along with an 
exemption from all cesses old and new. 

Payposhi was the contribution of the shoemakers to the Patil 
for plying their trade. It is so often mentioned that references 
will be useless. 

Kharchpalti * was a cess to meet the expenses of the village. 
Similarly, a contribution had to be made to the standing funds of 
of the Gava Gana ( 3TT3" 15TT ) which was spent for common 
purposes of having a temple, a Serai, a well, a cow- house, etc. 

Miscellaneous cesses 5 were collected under the following 
names: house tax, watchman tax, market cess, beggars cess, 
goldsmith cess, tobacco duty and forced labour. Water cess was an 
extra tax o lands watered by wells. Karaj patti were loans 
forcibly taken from the people in case of emergency. 

Certain cesses have been left out from the preceding categories, 
because their significance is not clear. Marathi dictionaries and 

1. Sh. Ch, S. Ill, pp. 144, 162. 
2-3; Skt Ch. & IK p. 21* US, 14 a, 146. 

4. Sh. Ch. S. Ill, pp. 139. 146, 148. 151. 

5. Sh. Ch. S. II. p. 368; III, pp. 101, 120. HI. 153: VII. pp. 14. 39, 106, 
112. Their names in Marat hi are respectirely: qg glft^ ^ HTOdj ^A Wffl 



Revenue Manuals throw no light on these words. Some of these 
are: Thun Masul,' Aiheran, Kathvala, Bambar Bhet, Banpatti, 

Sundar Thakur and Ban Tafcat 


45. Coaclidiag reMnrki-\Ve must not be oblivious to three 
important aspects of the imposition of these Abwabs. Though the 
list seems to be formidable, many of these are being levied now in 
towns and villages in India, and were levied even in the urban and 
rural areas of Europe in those days. Secondly, instead of the 
money economy there was the barter system wherein exchange of 
services and articles was the common feature. The needs of 
cultivators were satisfied by the services of the Maliar, Mang, 
barber, washerman, Joshi, Gurav, ect. on the one hand, and by the 
articles made by the shoemaker, carpenter, potter, oilman, ect. on 
the other. Consequently, these were paid a share of the crop by 
^every cultivator. The third feature deserving special notice is the 
socialistic organization of the society coupled with the principle of 
self-sufficiency. Every village was guided by the socialistic spirit to 
maintain its autonomy and self-sufficiency. All members of the 
village community from the lowest like Mahars and Hangs to the 
highest like Brahman, Joshi, and Upadhaya or the village officers, or 
the agents of imperial and local governments, pooled their resources 
and services for the common cause, and therefore each had his 
fixed share in the produce. In years of scarcity each would get less, 
while m years of prosperity each would share more of the 
produce of the land. Thus all were ensured maintenance, and 
there could not exist an unemployed or a starving group of persons. 
Every one living in a village with his hereditary occupation had a, 
place in the rural economy to do some useful work; in return, he 
was served or paid in kind by others. Thus the people lived in 
peace and contentment irrespective of turmoils, wars, revolutions in 
the capital of the kingdom. 

1. Sh. Ch.S. II, p. 302; III. p. 151. Their names in Marathi are respectively- 

Tbe Monetary Policy 

1. The Laissez Faire policy The Maratha Swaraj has already 
been shown to be composed of territories wrested from the 
Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda kingdoms, and from the 
Mogul and Vijayanagar Empires. Consequently, the monies of all 
these states remained current in the newly born state. We must 
expect a large variety of coins passing among the people and kept 
in the central as well as provincial treasuries of this kingdom. 
Shivaji was struggling to enlarge his dominion from the beginning 
of his career. On account of continuous wars with Bijapur and 
later on with the Mogul Empire, he was not sure of retaining the 
portions wrested from them. He had to cede a large part of his 
dominion after his treaty with Jaismgh in 1665. After four years 
only, he began to reconquer the lost forts and the territory protected 
by them. Therefore he could not evolve any monetary policy except 
that of giving full freedom to his subjects to accept whatever coins 
they preferred. He did not force any one coin on them. The 
Laissez-Faire policy gave the people the greatest satisfaction. 

2. Shivaji mints money From H. Oxinden's letter it appears 
that Shivaji had no state-mint for coining money up to his 
coronation. His words are : ' After his coronation he intends to 
set up a mint, and proposes himself great advantages thereby, so 
that Naroji Pandit declares that he will never agree to allow the 
Bombay money to go current in his dominions." 1 It is said by Khafi 
Khan that Shivaji began to strike copper coins and Hons in the 
fort of Rajgarh from 1664. The Marathi chronicles confirm this 
statement. These were probably not in his own name, but some 
current coins were minted for using copper and gold, and for 
making profit thereby. The state-mint might have been established 
after June 1674 for coining pagodas and pice in his own name. He 

1. Shivaji, Part III, 21 


must have been striking before his coronation pagodas, laries and 
pice in the old form in which they were current in the country- 
This is confirmed by the 19th article of the Anglo-Maratha treaty 
itself wherein the English promise that " all sorts of coins made in 

Sevagee's Dominions shall pass freely on the Island of Bombay." * 


It was the practice of those days to give license to goldsmiths 
to com money of proper weight and purity. In the Deccan states 
such licenses were granted by the government which used to charge 
royalty trom the goldsmiths, and to have superintendents to 
examine the coins and punish the license-holders in case of default. 
Shivaji too must have followed this practice as the pice minted 
during his regime have different and defective spellings of the 
word "Shiva Chhatrapati." 

3. Variety of Coins: The cash in the government treasuries 
consisted of Hons or pagodas of \ anous mints and issued by 
numerous kings. Their names are given below to show the variety 
of pagodas which were current in the days of Shivaji. 

The Chitragupta Chronicle gives a supplementary list of 
fanams issued from fourteen mints : Sabhasad names twelve 
varieties in which three new names of mints occur. Thus in all 
there were 21 kinds of pagodas and 17 cf fanams in the treasuries 
of the Raja. The seven kinds of pagodas mentioned in these 
volumes are great Hons, small Hons, A&hmolah, Padshahi, 
Sungare, Tipke and Wingurla ones. Five of these are not included 
in the list of Marathi chronicles. The silver coins consisted of 
rupees, Mahmudies, Ashrafis, Lans, and Rials. 

The prices of all these coins for the fifty years' period from 
1630 to 1680 are not available in a reliable manner. However, 
various travellers and authors have given their prices, and stray 
references are found in the preceding pages. It is evidently 
impossible to give an exact estimate of the value of the treasures 
left in cash and kind by Shivaji. A rough estimate will be 
attempted below. 

1. Shivaji, Part III, 43, < 

4. Ntaet tf HMS: The amounts of the various kinds of 
pagodas left in Shivaji's treasury according to the two chronicles 

( In thousands ) 

Putlis 100 

Sangari Hon 1275 

Gadmal Hon 500 

Pak (V) Naiki Hon 100 
Mohars 20O 

Padshahi Hon 1 365 

Ramchandrarai Hon 100 
Shailyguti Hon 200 

Ibrahami Hon 100 

Ellori Hon 50 

Fullam of different 
kinds 10,34 

5. Prices of Hens: The Shivarai, Devarai, Achyntrai, 
Ramchandrarai Hons were named after the Vijayanagar kings who 
issued them. These pagodas had the figure of Vishnu either with 
or without his two consorts on the obverse, while their reverse was 
either plain or granulated. Even the Golconda and Madras pagodas 
were struck after the Vijayanagar type. The former had the name 
of a Vijayanagar sovereign in Devanagari characters on the reverse, 
while the other bore on the obverse the figure of Vishnu and his 
two wives with rays emanating from his person. Its reverse was 

The Madras Hon was called the New Pagoda, while the 
Masulipatam Hon was known as the Old Pagoda. In 1656 one 






Shivarai 1 Hon 




Devarai Htm 9 




Kaveripak Hon 




Guti Hon 




Satlami Hon 8 




Achyutrai Hon 




Dharwari Hon 




Adavani (Adoni) 

Hon 300 



Tadpatri Hon 




Nishani Hon of 





1. In Sabhasad the sum is 300,450. 

2. This figure is from Sabhasad. Chitragupta is evidently wrong, 
figures ate almost the sane in both the chronicles. 

3. Satrami is another reading on p. 86 of Sh. Chh. 

4. Vestiges of O. M M I,' p. 195; II, p. 312 n. 



OHI Pacoda was eqiial to 1.39, but in 1661 it rose to 1.425 New 
Pagoda. 1 

(2) Kaven-pak, Adoni, Guti, Shailyguti, Hukcri, EHori; 
Dbarwari, Gadma), Tadpatri Hons seem to be after the names of 
the mint-towns at which these were struck. 

(3) Padshahi and Ibrahimi were the Bijapur Hons. 

(4) Gambar Dr. Sen takes it to be Gabbar which was 
worth Rs. 3-12 as-6 p. at Bombay in 1763. ( Ad. S. M., p. 123 ). 

(5) Putli was a small gold coin used as an ornament and was 
-equal to Rs. 4 in value. In other words, its price was nearly equal 
to a Hon. 

(6) Mohar was the \\ell~known Mogul coin weighing 170 
grains and containing 16S grains of gold. The rupee was 179 grams 
and had 175.5 grains of silver. Hence Rs. 15*4 were equal to a 
Mohar at the ratio of the values of silver and gold as 16:1. The 
Mohar was popularly known as the gold rupee. There were half and 
quarter Mohars of gold too in circulation. Each Mohar was actually 
equal to 14J rupees = 21 livresor 4hons, alivre being equal to Is. 6d. 

(7) Shivarai Hons-The treasury of Shivaji had Shivarai hons 
to the number of 4 lakhs only; but these were probably Vijayanagar 
pagodas and not those struck by Shiva Chhatrapati. As he was 
often called Shivarai after his coronation, it is probable that pagodas 
might have been struck by him after his name with the figure of 
God Shiva on them. There is one specimen of a gold Hon in the 
B. I. S. Mandal of Poona with the figures of Shiva and Bhawani 
seated side by side on the obverse, while on the face the words 
( tfnTCF* ^Rfcf ) are inscribed. The letter c 3f ' is missing due 

to incorrect spelling and the bad instruments. The inscription 
reveals the ignorance of goldsmiths and the freedom given to them 
for coining money without any interference from the state. The 
inscription on the copper coins was not uniform. Incorrect spellings 

1. Vestiges of O. M., I, pp. 194-5. The new pagodas were made by the 
English and Dutch and were valued at 34 rupees, while the old pagodas were 
worth 4j rupees. Tawnier, II, pp. 70-71. 


-were rather the rule. Eight different forms of Shivaji's name were- 
pointed out by Mr. Abbot who is said to have collected 25,OOO 
paisas of Shivaji. 1 

(8) Sutigare, Ttpftee, Ashmolah, Vingurla Hons -The loss 
suffered by the English at Hubh in 1673 was estimated in Sungare 
pagodas. We learn from Dr. Fryer that a Sungare pagoda was 
equal to Rs. 4 or 9 s., an Asmolah pagoda was one per cent less 
than the Sungare. The Rajapore loss was to be made up by 
Shivaji in Ashmolah pagodas, but another letter has Padshahi 
pagodas. The Tipkec pagodas were found in the English factory 
at Hubli. It appears that up to 1665 pagodas were struck at 
Vingurla and called after this famous port. 5,000 Vmgurla pagodas 
were despatched to Surat by the Dutch. We also read of pagodas 
at 4 guilders and 5 guilders in 1664 and 1669. The exchange of a 
Dutch florin is stated to be about 1 . equal to 1H florins. 

(9) Padshahi Hon- In 3663 at Surat the exchange was 100 
pagodas equal to Rs. 360. The Padshahi or Bijapuri pagodas were 
current at Rajapur. We read of Padshahi and Kaveripak Hons 
being paid in salary to officers by Shivaji. This pagoda was 
equivalent to Hs. Id. in English money. In a letter* of Jaysingh 
( 1665 A. D. ) a Hon is valued at Rs. 5, and Da Guarda too gives 
*he same price. In the south the pagodas had fanams and cash as 
coins of smaller denomination. Prices of articles are given in these 
as can be seen on p. 235 of Part III. 

The European merchants were dealing in pagodas and rupees. 
The English price of a pagoda is confirmed by the records. It 
should be marked that a pound sterling was then equal to 9 rupees 
at the rate of 2s. 3d. per rupee and that a Hon varied from Rs.3.6- 
to 5, or from 8s. to Us. 3d. We may therefore take 2 Hons to be 
roughly equal to 1 . or Rs. 9. Up to 1675 A. D. the exchange 

1. Sen, Ad. S. M., pp. 107-111, 123-126. 

2-3. Shiraji, Part II, 151, 202,406, 412,451,454, 498, 515, 574; 576; 
III, 117. 

4. P. S. S . I, p, 290. 


rate was 8s. 8d. per pagoda and 2s. 6d. per rupee at Madras, but 
in that year it was changed to 9s. 8d. and 2s. 3d. 'respectively. 

(10) German Ducats averaged about 4s. 9d. Shivaji was paid 
1,000-2,000 ducats daily by the king and was offered a present 
-of 1,000 by the Dutch at Golconda. 1 

6. Now we will torn to the silver coins- Abasis, Laris and 
Rials were the foreign coins current in the country, while Ashrafis, 
rupees and Mahmudis may bo said to be the indigenous coins. 

(1) Abasis were Persian coins named after Shah Abbas who 
ruled Persia from 15S8 to 1629 A. D. They were current at 

-Calicut, each being equal to 16d. according to Fryer, 1 and ISd. 
according to Thevenot. One Persian Toman = Rs. 29i or 50 
Abasis=100 Mahmudis = 200 Shahis. 3 

(2) Lari The word Kabri in the Sabhasad chronicle is a 
misreading of Lari which was a Persian com current in the port 
towns of Western India. It appears that the Bijapur rulers and 
Shivaji used to strike these silver coins. The Basra Lari was 
known after the famous port town Basra of Persia. We read of 
Hurmuzi, Basri, Shirni, Bhivindi, Murbad Korkada Laris in 
Marathi letters.* 

Shivaji might have struck Laris at Chaul and Dabhol which were 
brought under him about the year 1660. The soldiers at Rajgad 
were given their salaries in Laris in 1665. Similarly, customs were 
paid at Dabhol, etc. in Laris. 5 A Lari was worth about 6d. 

(3) Rials-Royals ( Ryalls or Reals ) were silver coins imported 
from Spain, and were worth about Rs. 2 each. According to 

1. Eng. Rec. II, pp. 349-350. 

2. East India, Vol. I, p. 143. 

3. Taveroier, Travels, I, p. 20. 

4. P. S. S. Ill, 2503, 2563, 2574, 2583,2610, 2611, Sh. Ch. S. 111,141, 
142, 158. 

5. Raj. VIII, pp. 7, 21. One wonders that a deep scholar like C. V. 
Vaidya should have identified Hon. and Lari, "the name being derived from 
Lat ( Konkan Gujarat )." Vaidya's Shivaji, 9, 320. Vestiges of O. M M I, 194. 


Tavernier 100 Mexican and Spanish Reals were e^ua) to 206- 
Rs., while a German or Dutch Rix Dollar- Rs. 2.16 = 4s. 8d. = 
sols. 1 One pagoda, being equal to 2 Rix dollars hi Oct. 1674> 
was worth Rs. 4.32 ( Shivaji, ITI, p. 35 ). 

(4) An Asbfifi was an Indian word to signify a Portuguese 
Xerafeen ot Xerafin equal to 300 reis. It is said to be equal to 
Is. 6d. by Yule. 9 

Even in 1677 the rents and customs of Bombay were farmed 
out in Xerafins 3 . So the Bombay rupee and pagoda were not 
much current there. 

(5) Rupees were mostly current in the north, but began to 
circulate in the Deccan with the extension of the Mogul sovereignty 
in these parts. Each rupee was equal to 40 dams and there were- 
half and quarter rupees of silver. 4 The value of the rupee was 2s. 
3d. to 21 s. Rupees used to be sent for the expense of the army 
by Shivaji. 

At Surat 1 rupee was equal to 49 paisas, but it varied from 
46 to 50 paisas. The Agra and Delhi a rupee was equal to 55-56 
paisas and 40 Dams. There were coins of 1 paisa, paisa, 2 paisas 
Then I paisa was ==35-40 almonds or 50-55 cowries at Agra, but 
more shells near the sea. 

(6) A Mthnmtti was equal to 20 paisas or from 8d. to 1 s. 

Token Coins- In the Deccan token coins were different. The 
Rajvavyaharkosha has given the denominations of the coins under 
the Hons. One pagoda = 2 Fartaps=4 Dharans 8 Chavals=16 
Duvals or Dubals = 32 Bels = 64 Vises. 

7. Tbe copper coins 5 were Takas, Rukas, Trirukas, Shivarais 
and ShaShganis. 1 Hon = 10 and sometimes = 11-12 Takas. 48 
Rukas were equal to 1 Taka. There is an occasional mention of 

1. Tavernier, Travels in India, Vol. I, p. 21; Shivaji, Part 11, p, 24, 

2. Vestiges of O. M.. Vol. I, p. 79. 

3. Tavernier, Travels. Vol. II p, 10<f* 

4. Sen, F. B., p. 7$. 

5. P, S. S. Does. 1746, 2726, 2727; Sh. Ch, S. II, 353-Dubal of rtetaL 

S, If 


Triraka equal to 3 Rukas. Shivarai and Sheshgani were copper 
coins equal to 6 Rukas. A Ruka ' was equivalent to li pies and 
a Taka was worth six annas. ' 

The pagoda was 85/8 parts gold out of 10 parts. Its weight 
was 53 1/3 grs. and the ratio between gold and silver was 16 to 1. 

In 1628 Jan. the price of a Hon is said to be nine Khurda 
Takas, while in a letter of 1621, a Hon is taken to be equivalent 
to 8 Laris. In 1658 Nov. it went up to 12 J Takas or Rs. 3 12 as. 
Then in 1670 and 1671 the Hon came down to 10 Takas." 

Phalam was another name for qoj or fanam. It comes under 
the silver coins in the Rajvavyaharkosha, though originally it was 
a gold coin. It came to be minted of silver and base gold in the 
17th century. Its value varied from place to place. 

According to Fryer, the Madras pagoda was worth 8 s., the 
Fanam, 3d. and Cash id. in 1673. It follows that 32 F. were 
equivalent to a pagoda, and six Cash to one Fanam. But the 
nominal exchange was 36 Fanams to a pagoda. The Cash referred 
to by Dr, Fryer was only an imaginary coin of accounts, the 
actual Cash was different. 

In 1678, 74 to 78 Cash were equal to a fanam. There were 
sometimes double Cash 43, or single Cash 86 to a Fanam. 80 
cash generally went to a fanam. It was merely a coin of account, 
while a 4 Cash-piece was the smallest coin struck. 

The number of fanams to a pagoda varied at different places 
at the same time. For instance, one pagoda was equal to 12 
fanams at Golconda, 18 at Porto Novo, 24 at Pulicat and 36 at 
Madras. We also read of pagodas and jetts.* Captain Thomas 
Bowrey 4 who visited the Eastern Coast of India several times 
between 1669 and 1688, gives the prices of a pagoda from 6 to 
12 s. in various places. 

1. P. S. S. Docs. 2417, 2534, 2535, 2586, 2722; Raj. VIII, p. 23. 

2. Sb. Ch. S. VII, pp. 9, 15, 74, 82, 89. 

3. Sbivaji, Pfcrt I, 116. Vestigtsof O. M,, I, 192-5, 504, 505. 

4. Bowrey, The Countries Round the Bay ! Beaga 

154 SmvAji THE GREAT 

The names of the Fanams of different types are mentioned in 
the Marathi chronicles. Some of these are similar in the Sabhasad 
and the Chitragupta chronicles ; others are different. Some coins 
are named after the kings and others after the mint towns. 
Ramarai, Hanamantrai, Katerai or Vyankatrai and Muhammad 
Shahi belong to the former group, while Trivaluri, Vellori, 
Devanhalli, Chandavari, etc. fall in the second category. The total 
number of the fourteen kinds of Fanams named in the Chitragupta 
chronicle is about 25 lakhs, while Sabhasad gives the value as 3 
lakh Rons. In some mints both pagodas and fanams must have 
been coined, while others must have minted only one kind of coin* 
The text is defective and therefore exact names can not be 
decisively given. Trivaluri pagodas were the current coin of the 
Karnatic up to 1736 at least. 1 There were pagodas of Vellore 
and Tanjore mints too. Other types can not be traced. 

8. Tbe Bombay Mint Englishmen used to make a large profit 
by coining money at Bombay and using it in the Maratha 
territory. They hoped that the copper pice and budgrooks would 
be demanded in larger quantities by the support of the Maratha 
government. In their treaty with Shivaji the> desired to insert a 
stipulation that the coins struck at Bombay should be made 
current by law throughout the Maratha kingdom, but the Raja 
deemed the article to be unnecessary, because he did not wish to 
force his subjects to accept those coins whereby they would be 
losers. His reply was very significant. He pointed out that in 
case the English coins were as fine and weighty as the Mogul's 
money, they would go current in his country. He gave them the 
assurance of not prohibiting their currency. The Englishmen 
acknowledged that Shivaji was true to his word and that the 
Bombay pice was quite popular, but tin budgroooks were not 
accepted by the people. The latter were old Goa coins struck 
at different times of copper, lead, tin, etc. The English at Bombay 
coined budgrooks of tin and desired to make much profit thereby. 
In 1671 sixteen budgrooks went to one pice. We have seen that 
the pice coined by Shivaji and the English were current in 
1. Vettifes of O. M., II* p. 310. 


Maharashtra. The Bombay pice was so popular ' in the Maratha 
and Portuguese territories that the English proposed to use 1,500 
chests of copper in minting pice in 1675. 

9. The Hoarded Treasures of Shiiaji The Sabhasad and 
Chitragupta Chronicles and the Tarikh-i-Shivaji have presented 
detailed information on the wealth left by Shivaji at his death. 
The list is indicative of the distant expeditions which brought a 
vast treasure in cash and kind through plunder, chauth, tribute 
and gifts. Pagodas numbered about ten millions ; gold and silver in 
bullion weighed 250 maunds and 1,000 maunds respectively; jewels, 
ornaments and costly clothing were valued at more than three crores 
of Hons, while the total value of the arms, weapons and stores 
of numerous articles is estimated at two crores of Hons. 

The aggregate number of all the pagodas, Mohars, Putlies, 
Gambars and Fanams by being converted into Hons was more than 
a crore. There were nine crore rupees and five crore Hons worth of 
other goods. This seems to be a poor collection after a regime of 30 
years 1 pillage and conquest. As Shivaji followed the system of paying 
salaries in cash to all the employees and as he had to maintain 
very large armies, the treasury probably showed poor balances. * 

The treasures amassed by Shah Jahan 3 at Agra and removed 
by Auraugzeb to Delhi, comprised 43 lakh gold Mohars and 2.6 
crore rupees. 

At the capture of Golconda by Aurangzeb, its treasury * had 
only 68 lakh Hons, two crore rupees and 115 crore dams left in it. 

The wealth of Shivaji compares favourably with the fabulous 
wealth amassed by Akbar the Great. At his death the Mogul 
Emperor is said to have left 10 maunds of uncoined gold; 70 
maunds of silver, 60 maunds of copper, one crore of tankas, and 
Ilahis worth 11 crores of rupees/ According to Smith, Akbar left 
forty million pounds sterling in coined money. 

1. Shivaji, Part III, p. 49. 

2. Ed. Scott Waring, History of the Marathas, pp. 215-16; Modern 
Rev. 1909. 3. Shivaji, Part II, 87. 

4. Qutabsbahi of Goteoadah by V. C. Bendre, p, 170. 40 dams=U Re. 

5. History of the Rise of Mahomedan Power in India by John Briggt* 
VoL II, pp. 281-282. 


1. The traditioMl Hiodn system conferred a great deal of 
judicial autonomy upon the people. All civil and even ordinary 
criminal casts were decided by peoples' courts. Law-givers like 
Manu, Narada, Brihaspati, Yajnavalkya and Sukra have given us 
glimpses of the universal practice of trial by peers. According to 
Sukra, cultivators, artisans, artists, usurers, corporations, dancers, 
ascetics and thieves should decide their disputes according to the 
usage of their profession. The reason advanced for this practice is 
that it is impossible to detect them through the help of others, so 
they are to be found out with the assistance of persons born of 
them. Similarly, the foresters, merchants and soldiers were to be 
tried by men of their own occupation. Further, in every village 
cases were to be tried by the neighbours. The families ( Kulas ) , 
corporations { Srenis ) and communities ( Ganas ) were to try cases 
excepting robbery and theft. Appeals from tht, Kula lay with the 
Sreni and from this to the Gana. 

King's Court According to Sukra, the judicial officers were 
to try cases not decided by the Ganas. The highest court of appeal 
was the King's Council consisting of the king, three to seven 
Brahmans well-versed in law and Veda, and of judicious merchants 
who were made assessors. The king presided, the councillors 
served as investigators, while the chief justice acted as the speaker. 
In another place Sukra says that the imperial court should consist 
of the king, the chief justice, the Amatya, a Brahman and the 
chie priest. It was a law that the king should never singly try 
cases, nor were suits to be heard in secret. The king who did not 
perform his judicial duties well, was threatened with the dire 
punishment of being thrown into the darkest hell. 

It is evident that cheap, prompt, and impartial justice was 
available to the people in the villages and towns of their residence. 
In a few important cases the* had to go out. Even the king was 


not allowed to try cases alone, but Only fa company with the 
law-lords and assessors. The fundamental rule was not to try 
-cases in secret but in public, an&then too with the help of experts 
in law and the neighbours of the parties in a suit. 

2. Cbaoffet during the Mfltlifli period During centuries of 
Muslim rule in southern India the vitality of the Panchayat system 
was not adversely affected. The rulers recognized the decisions of 
the Panchayats, superimposed certain courts or invested officers 
with judicial powers in criminal cases. The suits between Muslims 
and Hindus, and between Muslims were heard by the Kazi, an 
expert in Muslim law. Besides local Kazis, there were Kazis at 
the provincial capitals and the imperial metropolis. In the Mogul 
Empire the Kotwals, the Governors and the Emperors took over 
more and more judicial powers with the strengthening of the Muslim 
rule, so that the people were deprived of their powers and they 
suffered from denial of justice during the long rule of Aurangzeb. 

Prof. A. S. Altekar, after a thorough study of the village 
communities, has arrived at the conclusion l that in the north 
these communities lost their vitality by the introduction of the 
Zamindari system there. The landlords became the most influential 
members of the Panchayats, and thereby the headmen were 
deprived of their powers and position. Then the Panchayats too 
lost much of their power, because their decrees could not be 
enforced by the state. Further, certain social changes were 
introduced among the Hindus by the dominance of Muslims in 
northern India. But in the Deccan these changes could not be 
affected. Thus during the long Muslim rule village communities 
-continued to exist and perform judicial and political functions in 
southern India. 

However, these grew weaker and weaker under the Muslim 
dominance, so that some functions were performed by the headmen 
of villages. They had, however, to consult the elders on important 
matters. The Panchayats enjoyed judicial autonomy and as 
such these continued to exist in villages after the fall of the 
Ihfaratha Empire. 

1. Village Communities in Wetttrn Indi^ p, 1*3. 

158 ISfflVAji THE GREAT 

1, , The Paa^kiyttt vThat the peoples' courts in those days* 
we^e known as Panchayats, is confirmed by a document 1 of 1622. 
These were of different types. The most popular one was the Got 
Council consisting of the Patil, Kulkarni, the castemen, or relatives 
and kindreds of the disputants. Other Panchayats could be 
composed of the Mokadam and Twelve Balutas of the village to 
which the disputants belonged, or of the Makadams and Mukhtsars 
of the neighbouring villages. The Panchayat also consisted of the 
Patil, the accountant, the Twelve Balutas, and landlords of the 
village. In towns Shete, Mahajan, merchants and Balutas took 
part in the Panchayat. Thus the number of its members was not 
fixed. The disputants had the option to choose any form of the 
village Panchayat. Shivaji * himself offered such an option to the 
parties in 1668 for the decision of a suit. 

An arbitration held in 1669 at Tandli deserves a special notice. 
Therein Mokadams, the Twelve Balutas, all elders ( Bap-bhaus ) 
and hereditary peasants were present. One man was aged 115 
years, several were septuagenarians, while there were also present 
young men only 20 years old. It must have been a wonderful 
sight to have a venerable old man cf 115 years walking into the 
Council Hall and sitting for hours there. The young and the old, 
the rich and the poor took part in the Panchayats on a basis of 
equality, and thus enjoyed the threefold blessings, of equality, 
fraternity and liberty. 

Men of various castes, religions, occupations were not 
represented on it by election. The Panchayat was not dominated 
by men of any one community, religion, caste, occupation or 
interest. In this sense it was a democratic institution enjoying the 
confidence of the villagers and the towns- people. Still it was open 
to the parties to demand the transference of their cases to some- 
other village or town Panchayat, or to a higher authority. 

(a) There was a quarrel regarding the Joshiship of Kasba 
Shirwal. Both the parties agreed to have an arbitration in the city 
1. Sh, Ch. S. II, p. 133. 
2 t B. I* S. M. SammeUa ( Report, III, p. 39. 


of Ahmednagar. The Shetes, Mahajans, etc. of that city formed 
a court and gave their decision. Then the victory document was 
issued by the authorities and the Jeshi-ship was given over to the 
winning party in 1577 A. D, 

(b) In an arbitration ' of l6l3 A. D. the neighbours of town 
Shirwal, and the Deshmukhs and the Deshpandes of Poona, Wai, 
Saswad and Gunjan Maval were called as witnesses. The Deshak 
Council then gave its judgment. 

(c) In 1638 a case regarding division of property was decided 
^by a Panchayat in which Dadaji Kond Dev, Subedar of Kondana, 
was present along with the Deshmukh, Desh Kulkarni and Gots, 
This decision 9 was reversed by another Panchayat in 1657 wherein 
Shivaji Raje himself, his ministers and officers, Deshmukhs, Desh 
Kulkarnis, Gots and others were present. Thus important cases 
were decided by councils attended by many high dignatories of the 
state along with the representatives of the villages concerned. It 
was quite natural for the people to repose complete confidence in 
the impartiality of such councils. The Hindu maxim that ' the 
panchas are representatives of God ' is similar to the Latin saying 
' the voice of the people is the voice of God.' 

(d) Another famous decision was given by a Got Council in 
which Kond Dev was himself present. This Council is said to 
have based its judgment on the authority of the Mitakshara. 3 

(e) On an appeal being made, Shivaji referred the case to a 
Panchayat consisting of the Deshmukh, Deshpande, Hawaldar, 
Gots, etc. 4 

(f ; The sale of Kulkarni and Jyotishi rights of one village 
was affected in 1670. The deed was endorsed by a Patil, Mokadam, 
all the family elders ( ^T<T-*n3r ) , the Balutas and hereditary 

cultivators. Their names and seals are put on the document/ 

1. Sh. Ch. S. I, p. 5; P. S. S. Doc. 64. 

2. P. S. S. Docs. 432, 722. 

3. Sanads and Letters by Wad and Parasnis, p. 217. There were other 
Ceases of Got Councils in which Kond Dev was present. Docs. 436, 456, 457* 

4. P. S. S. Doc, 754 of 1658. 

5. Barada Daf tar, Vol. I, pp. 11-16* 


The words ( Bap-bhau ) ' fothers and brothers ' -show that the- 
elderly relatives of both the parties were also invited to take part 
in hearing the case* In ancient times there was the Kuia or Family 
Council, but the Panchayat of the Maratha times included the 
family elders, village officers, artisans and hereditary cultivators. 1 

4. The Deshak Sakfca was generally composed of Desbnmkhs, 
Deshpandes, Patils, Balutas of the villages, and Shete-Mahajans 
of the towns included in the Pargana. From a document " of 1652 
it appears that the Deshaks included Desais, Sardesai, Desh 
Kulkarni, Naiks Pataks, etc. of a particular territory* Another 
document * of 1682 shows that the Deshakas and Gots formed a 
Panchayat presided over by the officer of the town called Rajmudra, 
because he was to put his seal on the victory certificate after the 
decision. Officers of the Pargana like Hawaldar, Thanedar, 
Sarnaubat, Karkun, Sabnis, Chitnis, Karkhanis, Sargrohs, 
Naikwadis, etc. used to be members of this council. Its membership 
was not fixed, and it is not certain whether attendance in it was 
compulsory or not, yet this court had original and appellate 
jurisdiction. A case relating to several villages was decided by 
it. If a party was dissatisfied with the decision of the Gots, it 
could request the re-hearing of the case by the Deshak Sabha. 
Even disputes regarding the rights of Jyotishi, Dharmadhikari, etc. 
were decided by a Deshak 4 Council. 

5. The Brahmin Sabha was composed of one or more 
Brahmans who were well-known as distinguished scholars of 
high character. These were reputed to be fearless, impartial, 
God-fearing and incorruptible men. Such people were known as 
Dharmadhikaris. Karad, Wai, Kolhapur, Nasik, Mahuli, Paithan,. 
etc. were reputed to be the places of the residence of such Brahmans. 
Some times scholars from Benares were invited for deciding 
complicated cases. One of these councils was called by Shivaji to 
decide his Kshatrjya origin and the right to have coronation with- 

L See P. S, S, Docs. 64, 100, 125, 149, 151, 191. 

2. Sh. Ch. S, III, pp. 218-20. 3. Raj, XV, p. 38. 

4. Sb. Ch. S. II, docs. 3V>-341 of 1600 and 1616* 

5. 20 

f it* jltol&AL 

Vcdic ctffemdtiies. Gitffcbhat afcd othet learned 
constituted the council which r6cogttiz*d his Kshatriya 

Another large council was summoned to give decision about 
the Shenwi people of the Konkan.* 

The quarrels among Brahmans about property could be settled 
by the Brahihan Sabha. One case was decided at Wai * in 1664. 

6, Tht Raj Sabha is separately mentioned. It was probably 
constituted by the king, his councillors, some important officers of 
the kingdom, and persons of the place in which the dispute bad 
arisen. The case of Kharade brothers v. Kalbhar brothers about 
the Patilship of village Pali was heard by the council consisting of 
Shivaji, the Peshwa, the Chief Judge, the Panditrao, the Mujumdar, 
the Commander-in Chief, other important officers, Deshmukhs, 
Deshpandes, Patils, officers and Gots of the village Pali. The 
document is very important as it relates the procedure adopted in 
hearing and deciding suits. It was found that the case could not 
be decided on the available evidence. Therefore the complainant 
had to undergo an ordeal. Therein he failed and hence he lost 
his case. 4 

Another case of Shivaji v. Netaji regarding the Patilship of 
village Talbid deserves notice. It was decided by the Brabmatt 
Sabha and the Rajsabha. The difficult law-points wete settled 
with the help of Vidnyanesbwar's commentary known as the 

Raj wade has published a document 6 of March 1686 giving 
details of a council of Brahmans and state councillors called to 
reclaim a Brahman from Islam to Hinduism. This council permitted 
Shudhi and penance on the authority of the Mitakshara, etc. 

There is another decision by a Dharmasabha wherein Dadaji 
Kond Dev was present. Therein some law-points had to b 
settled. The decision was given after consulting the Mitakshara. 

1, Sfairmji, tot III* p. 3J. Sh. Giu 6, II* p 35$ set fr 294. 
2-3. P. & S. Docs. 993, 995. 4. P. S. S, II, Doc 

5. Sftnads and Letters by Wad and Ftoatti* p, 115, 
S, Rajwadat VII, pp. 36-38. 

162 SfflVAji THE GREAT 

Thus it is clear that during Shivaji's time the Mitakshara 
commentary on Yajnavalkya was recognized by the people as the 
standard work on law. Moreover, Mami Smriti, Vyavahara 
Mayukha and Kamalakara were also referred to as authorities in 
legal disputes. 

7. Chief Justice Mid Paoditrto The Chief Justice had 
jurisdiction over all suits in the kingdom. His seal was to be put 
on all judgments given by him. Even Panditrao, the head of the 
ecclesiastical department, had the right to countersign all documents 
issued by the king relating to Achftra, Vyavahfira, and 
Prftyaschitta - the three parts of the Dharma Shastra. Some 
revisionary power was thus vested in the Panditrao, otherwise he 
would not give his approval to the decisions of the secular courts. 

8. Municipal autonomy In towns and market places 
Panchayats consisting of officers and merchants were quite 
common. Many of these places had charters of rights from the 
king and enjoyed privileges of self-government in political and 
fiscal matters. Only two or three instances will be given here. 

There are two examples of charters given to Athani in 1683 
and to Bankapur in 1686, but being traditional these are illustrative 
of the fact that during the seventeeth century all towns and ports 
enjoyed more or less similar rights. ( i ) Immunity from payment 
of certain taxes was conferred on Athani for seven years and on 
Bankapur for eleven years. ( ii ) All goods taken away by robbers 
and thieves if not recovered by government officers, were to be 
made good by the government. ( iii ) The intestate property was 
not to be taken as escheat by the government, but was to be given 
to the proper successors by the city Panchayat. ( iv ) All kinds of 
disputes, immoral deeds, even murders up to eleven were pardoned. 
Cases were to be decided by the Pancbayat. ( v ) Various kinds 
of taxes were either reduced or remitted. ( vi ) Forced labour was 
not to be demanded from the city. By these means encouragement 
was given to the people for rapidly developing depopulated or 
declining cities. 1 

I. Sb. Ch, S. VI, pp, 368-387. 


It has been noted that Benares was looked upon as the greatest 
seat of learning. The decisions given by the reputed scholars of 
that holy place were recognized by the people all over India. 
There was a quarrel between the Jains and Lingayats of Athani 
regarding the respect to be paid to their Swamis at the time of 
their visit to the place. The Lingayats brought a written order 
from Kashi that the people of Athani should go out to receive the 
Lingayat Swami in procession. A Fanchayat consisting of all 
officers and Balutas of the city was held to examine the genuineness 
of the Benares dictum and the claim of the Lingayats was 
accepted. Sometime after the Jains claimed to have brought a 
similar order. Another Panchayat was held to examine the 
Benares dictum regarding them, and the Panchas refused to accept 
the same. Thus the state officials, village officers and the people 
played an important part in regulating the affairs of the town 
and villages. 1 

9. Enforcement of decisions Several means were adopted to 
enforce the decisions of the Panchayats. (1) The parties had to 
give in writing their consent to abide by the decision of the 
Panchayat. (2) One or two men stood security for each party 
to ensure the carrying out of the decision. (3) Oaths were 
administered to the disputants and fine was to be imposed for 
violating the decision. The Hindus were bound by oaths and 
warned not to break the agreements, otherwise they could incur 
the sin of killing a cow at Benares. The Muslims were to swear 
by swine, and they incurred the sin of eating bacon for going 
against a certain decision. 9 

(4) The parties were given a warning to abide by the decision, 
otherwise they were considered ' to commit a crime against the 
Dewan and be unjust to the Gots.' In hundreds of documents 
these words are to be found. The king is nowhere mentioned. 
He remains in the background. Only his dewan or minister figures 
prominently. Hence an impersonal reference to administration 
was made. No personal loyalty or fear was evoked among the 

1, Sh. Ch. S. II, 358, 359 of 1658. 

2. Sh. Ch. S. VI, p, 35. 

If* Sifl^ji f 3* 

The victor TOStobe puniphpd byafipe ta|en by 
This a^poi^t of the fiae wf* some timps settled 
tytfce Pftnci^yftt. This must have varied with the economic 
pppittpn of djspqtants, the amount of property involved and the 
frequency of the ppilt committed. For instance, ip aa arbitration 
held at Supg, ip 1658, this amount was two hundred Hons, but for 
violating the arbitration the amount of fine was raised to 500 
Hon$ or R?. 2,000. 

In cities the disputants were considered to commit crimes 
against the city by violating the decision of the Panchayat. Thus 
the city formed an administrative unit which was to be considered 
sacred by the inhabitants. 

(5) Victory certificates ( nrqr ) and property documents 
/ ercFTTO ) with proper seals and signatures were issued to the 
winning party and the government officers concerned. 

10. Ordeals from ancient times The Hindu society used to 
hold trial by ordeals from the time of the Upanishads. Even 
the law-books of Apastamba, Manu, Narada, and Vishnu mention 
two to five forms of ordeals, while Brihaspati and Pitamaha give 
nine kinds. The balance, sacred libation, water, fire, heated metal, 
poison, rice-eating, drawing of Dharma-image, and ploughshare 
were the nine means used in the ordeals. Elaborate details of 
administering these are given in some commentaries. v 

Kautilya and Sukra too have testified to the use of ordeals in 
trials. As Mitakshara was followed in Maharashtra, some of the 
ordeals prevalent from ancient times and explained in that famous 
commentary, continued during the Muslim and Maratha periods. ~ 

Shivaji had the great ideal of reviving and strengthening 
Hindu laws and customs. He did not interfere in the customary 
law. The ordeals continued to be administered by the various 
courts during his regime. 

11. Orfatli in Maharashtra Some of the ancient forms of 
ordeals had become obsolete in Maharashtra. The prevalent forms 
are noticed below: 


( i ) A complainant b^ing dissatisfy} with tb deqfion of 
tbe Pj^jcbayat against hjm, demanded a fresh decision by ordea). 
Tberwjpon one took place in 1626 before an idol in 9 tempi* in the 
form of picking up papers with the names of litigants on them. 1 

( ii ) Ordeals were performed by drawing a piece of metal 
out of boiling oil, 9 or with the help of boiling water, and by 
burning lamps in a temple or a mosque. 

( iii ) A heated ball was carried on a hand which was covered 
with leaves of peepal tree. Two such cases are mentioned in docs. 
41 and 132. 

( iv ) A disputant enjoyed the latitude of refusing to undergo 
an ordeal and demand another, even after having consented to 
perform a particular one. For instance, a man, being dissatisfied 
with the decision of the s Got Council, was ready to undergo a 
water-ordeal. He changed bis mind and requested that the case 
be decided by an oath taken in a mosque. Afterwards he rejected 
even this proposal and wanted tbe first ordeal. The Panchayat 
decided tbat the disputants sbould pour water over each other's 
bands. This form of ordeal too was not accepted by him, and he 
announced his intention of undergoing tbe fire-ordeal. 

The details of the first form of the ordeal by water are 
reproduced by Dr. Sen. 8 The disputants stood in a sacred river 
and the rightful party was drawn out of the water by a trustworthy 
man in the presence of tbe Pancbayat. 

( v ) There was another simple form of an ordeal performed 
before the god in the village temple. On one chit the word ' head 
< of the god)' and on the other the word 'body (of. the god)' 
was written. The picker of the former chit was considered to have 
won the case. 4 

The form of the ordeal was generally proposed by the 
Panchayat, but some times it was settled by the ruler himself. 
1. P. S. S. Doc. 230, 2, Ibid,, Docs. 123, 159. 

3. Son, Ad. S, of tbe Mpmthas, p. 365. 

4. Wad, Sapads and Letters, p. 38, 

5. P. S. S. Doc. 1240 of 1669. v 


12. Btsic principles A few cases are referred to here for 
explaining the principles underlying the judicial procedure in 
general, and the administration of ordeals in particular. We will 
first confine ourselves to the first half of the 17th century, a period 
immediately preceding the rise of Shivaji to power. The first case 
deserving our notice is between a Hindu and a Muslim of Masur. 
Their ancestors had committed murder of each other for the sake 
of Patilship. The case was first decided by the Got Council of the 
village and then by the Deshak Council of the Pargana. The- 
Hindu complainant appealed to the king who sent the case to be 
decided by Ambar Khan. He gave his judgment, the case was 
again decided against the defendant by the Muslim officer of the 
district. Still the Muslim did not give up the Patilship. Thereupon 
the complainant demanded justice from the officers. The defendant 
desired the case to be transferred to an independent law-expert 
resident at a distant place. Thereupon the case was submitted to- 
two Brahman Dharmadhikaris of Paithan. The parties gave a 
writing to abide by the decision of this court. Their statements were 
recorded, and the necessary papers were examined by the judges. 
The Muslim demanded an ordeal to be performed by the Hindu 
plaintiff. The court referred to the lawbook of Vidnyaneshwar's 
Mitakshara and decided that no ordeal could be held in the 
existence of appropriate documentary evidence and witnesses 
available in this case. The learned judges further .declared that 
the defendant deserved a death-sentence, but since there was the 
Muslim rule and the defendant was a Muslim, he was pardoned. 
He was asked to give a Yajit-patra or victory certificate to the 
complainant and to band over the Patilship to the latter. This 
document was signed in the presence of the Muslim Havaldar of 
Paithan and given into the custody of the Hindu winner. 1 It must 
have. been noticed that a Muslim demanded his appeal to be heard 
by a'f^fodfrlawyer. The Muslim officer of Karhad and the Muslim 
1&vaid&r f 'Paitfian both had confidence in the impartial judgment 
to be given by $36; Brahman Dharmadhikari. The Hindu judges 
administered justicte according to the Hindu law-books. These 
1. Sfa/Ch, S, 17 p. 1; seeMocs. 39. 98 ai<123 of P. S. S.. 


Jegal authorities were acceptable to .the Muslim rulers, and the 
Muslim people. Similarly, the, ordeals were performed by the 
Muslims as well as the Hindus even during the Muslim rule., 
Though trial by ordeal was definitely opposed to Islamic law, yet 
the Muhammedan , rulers in the Deccan did not or could not put it 
down. Besides, the legal terminology used in law. cases was mainly 
based on ancient Sanskrit law-books, especially on the Polity of 
Sukra. The words like 9TiT*nft ( complainant ), qftpr 
< defendant ), qf*TcT <JT or PT TO ( victory certificate ), 
( ordeal ) have grown obsolete to-day, but were intelligible to the 
masses of those days. ' 

The government of the day afforded sufficient latitude to the 
litigants for appeal from one court to another, while it kept itself 
apart from directly interfering in the administration of justice. 
The majority of cases must have been decided by the peoples' 
courts. The masses must have been free from oppression on 
account of the enjoyment of judicial autonomy. 

Several documents ( nos. 8-12 ) on the Desh Kulkarniship of 
Shirwal town are published. 2 It appears that the Panchayat 
consisted of all the Deshaks, Shethes, Mahajans, the Twelve 
Balutas, all the hereditary cultivators of Pargana Shirwal and 
certain Mokadams and eminent neighbours of other towns. It was 
presided over by an officer called Rajmudra. The statements of 
the two parties were written on Tadpatri paper. The president 
asked the assembly to consider the means by which the case was 
to be decided. All unanimously desired to bold an ordeal. The 
parties consented to undergo the same. The hands of both the 
complainant and defendant were thoroughly washed and covered 
with gloves and sealed. They were then kept in custody in the 
fort. Next day the assembly met at the temple of Kedareshwar. 
There the complainant was asked < to draw out the^ 
a boiling mixture of oil and butter. He did it 

1. P. 3. S. Doc. 50. 

2. Sb. Cb, S. I. pp, 5-18. A similar case bat been i 
Vritta. II, p. 153, 

168 8VAJ1 TttftGflEAt 

of all* and showing the same to^ll he dropped it. Thefa he 
his hand under hfc arm-pit and -walked rouftd the shrine 6f the 
god. The hands of both were again put in gloved and sealed* The? 
were then kept in the fort for two days. On 'the third day the 
assembly met again in the temple. The parties were brought in* 
Their hands were examined and it was found that the complainant 
had not suffered at all by drawing out the metal from the boiling 
oil. Therefore the assembly gave judgment in favour of the 

A suitor performed an ordeal and lost his case. Yet he did not 
accept this verdict and appealed to the authorities to reconsider his 
case. Thereupon a fresh trial took place. ' 

One most noteworthy case of an ordeal performed in the 
presence of Shivaji and a great Council has already been 
mentioned. The Raja, being requested by the members to remit the 
fine of Gunahgari to Kharade and the Harki gift from the winning 
party, acceded to their wish. Then documents were made to 
transfer the Patilship to the winning party. 

It is evident that even the ruler, his ministers and high officers 
sat as members of the law courts and did not impose their will 
upon other members. Such a practice brings out the democratic 
character of the judicial assemblies and the consequent confidence 
of the people in them. In no other territory in India such a 
democracy was enjoyed by the people of those days. Delay and 
denial of justice were common in Mogul India. In the Maratha 
Empire prompt justice through Panchayats consisting of their own 
neighbours, relatives, equals and even friends, was available to- 
the litigants. 

1. P. S. S, Doc, 52 of 1610 A, D. 

S. 21 

The Relifiom Policy 

1. SWvi incarnated for the protection of Hindu religion la 

the words of saint Ramdas "there is no protector of religion like 
Shiva in this world. It is due to you that the Maharashtra religion 
has been saved.'* 

The first and foremost ideal put by the elders before the young 
Shivarai was the protection of his religion from the onslaughts of 
the Muslims who were styled Mlechhas. For instance, his preceptor 
Kond Deva impressed upon his receptive mind that ' the whole 
earth is trampled down by the foreigners. All places, forts and 
towns are full of their forces. Important places should be possessed 
by you. Hindu kings and Hindu forces should be secured by you 
for your assistance. You should perform difficult deeds by supreme 
industry and daring. Then you will obtain the blessings of saints 
and the approval of God for your success.' ' 

His father Sbahji asked the blessing of the god of Jejuri for 
the establishment of Shivaji's rule to relieve the sufferings of gods, 
cows and Brahmans and to revive the ancient religion. 9 In his famous 
letter to Shivaji, Shahjj expressed satisfaction at the extension of 
Swaraj for such a noble and high ideal. All the Marathi chronicles 
also emphasize the same ideal in so many places that it is impossible 
to reproduce all the evidences here. 

The Chitnis Chronicle opens with the introduction that " the 
Mlechha rule uprooted the Hindu religion from the earth. Gods, 
Brahmans, places of pilgrimage, cows and the people, all were 
undergoing oppressions of various kinds. Shivaji was born as an 
Avatara or Incarnation for the re-establishment of religion." The 
same thing is repeated in other sections. 3 

The court poet Bhushan has given expression to the Same 
belief in unequivocal words. His lyric poetry is full of spirit and 
1*5. Chitnis, sec. 18, 40. 41, 46, 51, &, 17, 80, 84, 85, 86. 100, 173. 


be is at his best in extolling the work of Shivaji as the restorer and 
preserver of the Hindu religion. This famous poet was neither a 
Maratha nor a resident of Maharashtra, but a Brahman of the 
United Provinces. He eloquently expressed the feelings of the 
millions of Hindus on the superhuman work performed by Shivaji. 
Jrle has described him as an incarnation of Shiva, Vishnu and Indra. 
The Raja is likened to Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Narsinha 
and Buddha of the days of yore for the establishment of religion 
and the destruction of irreligion. He is said to have been born for 
the total annihilation of the Mlechhas, whose sword was a shield 
for the Deccan, a wall for the Hindus, and death for the Turks. 1 

Just as the Muslim rulers took pride in calling themselves 
Ghazis, similarly Bhushan has given Shivaji the title of Ghazi, as 
he was the guardian of the Hindu religion. 

He has been likened to a hydra who swallowed the armies of 
the Moguls, 9 or to Narsinha, the Man-lion incarnate who tore to 
pieces the forces of his foes. 3 

"Shiva preserved Hinduism and the emblems on the foreheads of 
the Hindus. By proctecting the Puranas and Smritis, he preserved 
the Vedic rites. He it was who prevented the capitals of the Rajput 
kings from falling into the hands of the Moguls. He preserved 
religion on this earth. He patronized men of genius. By his sword 
he dealt death-blows to the Moguls and kept peace in the world. He 
Spread the Maratha fame by conquering countries after countries. 
Moreover, he preserved the Vedas and Puranas; nay, the name of 
Rama could be called out by the Hindus only through the political 
force of Shivaji. He was the preserver of the sacred bunch of hair 
on the heads of Hindus, the sacred thread on their shoulders and 
6f the rosary in their hands. The Moguls in general and their 
emperor in particular were laid low. All the foes were reduced 
to ashes. By means of his sword Shivaji kept safe the frontiers of 
/ fcis kingdom. He preserved gods, temples and the family-deities. In 
short, he struck terror into the heart of Aurangzeb himself." 

1. Shivaraj Bhuban, couplets II, 56, 71, 73, 75, 84, 142, 228, 348, 361. 

2. Shiva Bhavani, coup. 48. 

3. . Sen, Sh. Chh,, pp. 2, f, 153. 


Such are the sentimental out-pourings of the famous poet 
Bhushan. Let us now turn to the passive saint Tukaram. He too 
described Shivaji as an Avatara who performed the duty of preserving 
religion and uprooting irreligion. The Maratha Raja was only 
twenty years old in 1650, when Tukaram is said to have died. Yet 
the saint is represented to have been so much impressed by the 
successes of the young dreamer that he declared him to be an 
Avatara or omniscient incarnation of God Shiva himself. 

But the militant and patriotic saint Ramdas was so deeply 
charmed with the personality of this struggling adventurer that he 
more than once described him as an incarnation of God in his 
inimitable language. It is not necessary to reproduce the noble 
sentiments expressed in the sHH^H JFCT * Dasabhodha-the 
Magnum Opus of Ramdas, but a few lines will not be out of 
place here. 

"The power l of the Mohamedans is gone The Mother 

Goddess who had bestowed a boon upon Shivaji has come with a 
bludgeon in her hand, and has killed the sinners of old in the 
Region of Bliss. I see the Goddess walking in the company of the 
King, intent upon devouring the wicked and the sinners. She has 
protected her devotees of old, and she will again protect them 
to-day. 1 ' 

Finally, we may bring in the important evidence of Ramchandra 
Pant * on the work of his master. Says he, " Shivaji rescued the 
Dharma, and established gods and Brahmans in their due places* 

He created a new type of administration for his 

territories, forts and armies, and conducted the government without 
hindrance and brought it under one system of co-ordination and 
control. He created wholly a new order of things. He forced 
Aurangzeb to immerse in a sea of agony and sorrow, and acquired 
for himself a world-wide and well-acknowledged fame." 

" This kingdom is for the good of the gods and Brahmans.' 1 * 
It did not exist either for the selfish ends of Shivaji or for the 

1. R. D. Ranade, Mysticism in Maharashtra, P. 367. 

2. Polity, p. 8. 

3. 1 


welfare of the foreigners. All the resources of the state could be 
dedicated to the preservation of religion. It is now evident that 
Shivaji was not actuated by the selfish and devilish motive of 
amassing wealth by plunder, but by the highest and holiest aim of 
restoring and regenerating the Hindu religion and of establishing 

Shivaji considered himself a servant of religion. Consequently 
he had adopted a life of mendicancy and humble service for its 
propagation. Though he did not become a monk like Asoka, yet 
he did his best to protect, patronize and promulgate the Hindu 

Like the great Asoka who made a gift of his empire to the 
Baudha Sangha, Shivaji is said to have made a gift of his kingdom 
to saint Ramdas, who returned the same to the Raja with the advice 
that the kingdom was not for his benefit but for the glorification 
of Dharma. Shivaji was required to spend his whole energy and 
wealth for the welfare of the Hindu religion. 

Thus from the beginning of his political career to the end of 
his life, Shivaji devoted himself heart and soul to the protection 
and propagation of his religion under the inspiration of his 
parents, his preceptor, the poets and the saints of the time. 

2. Muslim persecution of the Hindus The Hindus were 
persecuted in the Muslim states of the Deccan, though in the north 
on account of the political and military power of the Rajput princes, 
their blood relationship with the Mogul Emperors, and the 
commendable policy of toleration begun by Akbar and partially 
continued by his two successors, the Hindus escaped from 
persecution for about a century. The papers collected by Mr. 
Parasnis include a long document containing the following 
instructions of Muhammad Adil Shah to his successors. 

"All the high posts should be reserved for the Muslims; none of 
/these should be given to Hindus, but clerkships mi/' be filled 
ty them. 

Even the richest Hindu should not be able to claitp equality 
with a poor Muslim. 


In a quarrel between a Muslim and a Hindu the former should 
not be punished by the Kazi for doing a wrong to the Hindu. 

All classes of Hindus should be subjected to the Jazia. The 
clerk who is to receive this tax, should remain sitting, while the 
tax-paying Hindu, howsoever rich he may be, should remain 
standing before him till the tax is paid." l 

The duties of a judge (Kazi) are mentioned in two documents. 
In each of these he is instructed to break the Hindu idols in the 
temples of the Maratha people. 9 

3. Lament of the saints A succession of thinkers, poets and 
saints from the mystical Dnyandeva to the militant Ramdas lamented 
the decline of the Hindu religion during more than three centuries. 
Mr. Bhat has brought together the passages in his famous Marat hi 
book entitled Maharashtra Dharma. It is not necessary to refer to 
a summary of the laments of the saints here, since sidelights have 
already been given in the preceding pages from the writings of 
Tukaram, Ramdas and Bhushan. 

Such is the incontestible evidence of oppressions committed 
upon the Hindus by the Muslim rulers in the south. Even when 
there was no actual persecution, the very indifference of the state 
to the religious, moral, intellectual and artistic activities of their 
subjects, led to their rapid decline. 

4. Shivaji's policy of religions equality We have seen how 
the Hindus had to pass their lives in the suffocating atmosphere of 
religious persecutions, temple-destruction, desecration of images, 
iconoclasm, social and communal inequalities, crushing taxes and 
the impoverishing ostracism from political life. In fact, they were 
helots in their own country. Oppression of centuries had made 
them fatalistic, unambitious and unprogressive. Shivaji saw the 
tide of persecution and oppression advancing from Delhi to the 
Deccan in the reign of Aurangzeb. He would have been justified 
in retaliating the fanaticism of the Muslim rulers and paying them 
in their own coins. But he was not a product of his times. He 

1. Parmsnis, I. S., Vol. II. p. 26. 

2, Wad and Parasnis-Sanadapatren, pp. V, 81. 


rose far above the contemporary rulers of India and Europe in 
following a liberal policy of religious harmony, tolerance and 
equality. Herein lies his claim to greatness. 

5. Shiraji'i protest against Aumogzeb fanaticism The letter 
written by Shivaji to Aurangzeb has been rightly described by Sir 
J. Sarkar as a masterpiece of clear logic, calm persuasion, and 
political wisdom. It enunciates certain universal principles and 
policies followed by the enlightened Mogul monarchs for the 
guidance of Aurangzeb and men of his creed. For instance, it is 
said that all men created by God are living examples of the nature 
of diverse creeds and temperament; that kingdoms prosper and the 
subjects become happy only when they repose in the cradle of peace 
and security ; that Islam and Hinduism are only terms of contrast ; 
and that in every place of worship whether it be called a mosque 
or a temple, the same God is worshipped by all. Further on, the 
monarch is reminded that even the Quran which is a Divine Book 
and the Word of God, styles Him the Lord ot all and not of Muslims 
only; that the Jazia was unlawful, impolitic, inexpedient and an 
innovation; that the tax might have been justified, if there was perfect 
security in his empire, but everywhere there was insecurity and 
unsafely, and the subjects were being plundered; that the Hindus 
already crushed by heavy taxes were living in abject poverty. 

It was improper for the richest emperor on earth to covet the 
beggar's bowl and levy Jazia from monks, paupers, Brahmans, 
mendicants, famine-stricken and ruined wretches. It was no 
heroism on his part to oppress ants and flies. If he possessed any 
valour at all, he should first collect the tax from Udaipur or from 
the writer of this letter. 

Aurangzeb had already lost many forts and provinces, and 
Shivaji would leave no stone unturned in further ravaging and 
devastating his territories in case the Emperor persisted in the 
'policy of continuing ttie Jazia* The Lord of the Peacock Throne- 
blinded by fanaticism and imperial might, paid no heed to these 
convincing arguments. But Shivaji had lighted a fire which could 
not be easily extinguished. He had succeeded in creating an 


indomitable spirit of resistance, a sense of honour, an intense 
feeling of patriotism and an irrepressible will of independence 
^amongst the unified Marathas, so that Aurangzeb could not 
suppress them with his myriads of mercenaries. 

The Raja set a noble example of perfect security and religious 
-equality for all his subjects. In that age of fanaticism and 
intolerance he was the first Indian ruler who attempted to found an 
empire broadly based upon the welfare and benefit of all his 
subjects. Shivaji was no less zealous than Aurangzeb in devotion 
to his own religion, yet as a ruler he allowed every religion to 
prosper in a free atmosphere under his protection. He was the 
patron of all religions and the real guardian of his people. 

6. Islim patronized by Shivaji 1. After the murder of 
Afzal Khan, a large part of the Bijapur territory came into the 
possession of Shivaji. The latter was a mere Mokasedar of such 
'districts as Poona, Indapur, Chakan, Supa and Baramati. Now 
he became an independent ruler of these parts. Therefore he 
ordered his officers to continue the charities to both the Hindus and 
Muslims as these were prevalent before the regime of Afzal Khan. 
He did not discriminate against the Muslims, even though Afzal is 
said to have desecrated the temples of Tuljapur and Pandarpur, 

2. Even Aurangzeb himself gave him the certificate of being 
the " Defender of the Muslim religion " in his letters * of 14th 
July, 1659, 26th Aug. and 28th Aug., 1666 and 5th March, 1668. 
These four documents cover a period of ten years. 

3. Dr. Fryer visited Kalyan and has paid a glowing tribute 
to Shivaji's policy of tolerance. 9 

4. Grant Duff has truly said that, " Shivaji never sequestrated 
-any allowance fixed by the Mahomedan Government for the support 

of tombs, mosques, or places of commemoration in honour of saints." 8 

5. Dr. Del Ion, a great contemporary traveller and writer, 
records that Shiva tolerated all religions and that he was looked 
"upon as one of the most politic princes in these parts. 4 

1. Raj. VIII, 14, 15, 16 documents. 2. Fryer, VoL I, p. 41o. 

3. History of the Mahrattas, p. 104. 4. Eng, Records, II, 548. 


6. Khafi Khan is conspicuous in his hatred of Shivaji, and in 
his history, he rarely does justice to his work. Even on the ddmtse of 
this great warrior and conqueror, the historian made a chronogram 
of the date of his death by saying that " the infidel went to hell." 
Yet he pays a glowing tribute to this " Hell-dog " for his religious 
tolerance in these words : " But he made it a rule that whenever his 
followers went plundering, they should do no harm to Muslims, the 
Book of God, or any one's women. Whenever a copy of the Holy 
Kuran came into his hands, he treated it with respect and gave it ta 
some of his Mahomedan followers. When the women of any Hindu 
or Mahomedan were taken prisoners by his men and they had no 
friend to protect them, he watched over their liberty." Further 
on, he remarks that " he entirely abstained from other disgraceful 
acts, and was careful to maintain the honour of the women and 
children of Mahomedans when they fell into his hands. His 
injunctions upon this point were very strict, and any one who 
disobeyed them received punishment/' 

7. Shivaji paid respect to both Hindu and Muslim saints and 
sought their blessings. His interview with Baba Yaqut of Kelshi 
near Janjira is worthy of notice. He went to receive the blessing 
of this hermit for the conquest of Janjira. To his surprise the 
saint left the seat and walked off. Shivaji followed him. Thereupon 
the hermit returned to his seat, and finding the Raja very anxious 
to receive a boon from him, he pulled out a white hair from his 
moustache and handed it to him. The Raja entrusted it to an 
accompanying officer for making an amulet. The hair was 
afterwards lost, and it was believed that, therefore, Janjira could 
not be reduced by Shivaji. 1 

7. Employment of Muslins 1. Shivaji freely employed 
Muslim soldiers who flocked to his banner from the Bijapur, 
Golconda and Mogul rulers from 1650 onwards. Although these 
men were mere mercenaries and many of them were Pathans and 
Persians, >et they did not renounce his cause, or show any treason 
to him, but very faithfully served him up to his death. 

1. Vftkatkar, 91 Q. Bakbff, p. 130. 
S. 22 


2. Evan Siddi Sambal who bad been his deadly enemy, and 
bis son-in-law, Siddi Misri accepted Shivaji's service, and 
continued to faithfully serve his son Sambhaji. One Shama 
Khan was a cavalry-officer. 

3. Two of the admirals of his fleet were Ibrahimkhan and 
Daulatkhan. There were other Muslim officers, including the two 
Siddis mentioned above. Thus the Maratha fleet which was 
constantly at war with the Abyssinian and Mogul fleets, was 
manned and officered by Muslims. 

4. One Quazi Haider was a high officer in the service of 
Shivaji. After the Raja's death, he migrated to Delhi and rose to 
be chief justice under Aurangzeb. 

5. The castle of Phonda was captured by the Raja after 
much bloodshed. The first governor appointed by him to rule over 
such an important place was a Muslim. 

6. The Bakhars have related a remarkable story of the 
devotion of his servants and officers to their master. A Muslim 
boy who was a faithful page, accompanied him to Agra. He 
was fully in the know of the plot and was left alone to serve Hiroji 
Farzand who impersonated Shivaji on the sick-bed at Agra. Both 
of them left the house on the pretext of bringing medicine for the 
patient, but were seized and severely beaten to give out details of 
the plot. The Muslim boy was expected to expose the Kafir 
( heretic } in the cause of Islam, but he refused up to the last to 
give out the secret. Such a devotion to duty and love for the 
master, even at the loss of life, are rare in history ; but Shivaji'? 
greatness and overpowering personality impelled his servants to 
sacrifice their lives cheerfully for him. 

In short, Shivaji appointed Muslims in the military, naval 
and civil services. Even his personal service was not barred to 
them. He showed respect to Muslim saints, gave funds to their 
religious institutions, and continued their old grants. Such * 
national and liberal policy in that age of religious persecution 
places Shivaji in die tank of the greatest rulers like Harsha, Sher 
Shah and Akbar. 


t. EedutttiM or Shridfci Shivaji and his mother were 
both very liberal in their religious outlook. They realized the danger 
of the extinction of Hinduism by the constant drain of apostates to 
Islam and Christianity. Therefore they tactfully conquered the 
prejudices and opposition of the orthodox Hindus against reclaimed 
Muslims, (l) Bajaji Nimbalkar, the ruler of Phaltan was brought 
back to Hinduism. The Raja gave his own daughter in marriage 
to Bajaji's son to show to the public that the Nimbalkars were 
restored to the rights and privileges of the Hindu society. This 
historic conversion is represented in a painting preserved in 
the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay. (2) The second glorious 
case is that of Netaji Palkar, the famous commander of the 
Maratha cavalry. He accepted Islam in the Mogul service, but was 
won back after ten years. The Raja took him back in the Hindu 
fold and bestowed a high military rank upon him. (3) Shivaji led 
frequent expeditions into the Portuguese territory for preventing 
forcible proselytism of the Hindus into Christians. He required 
the Christian fathers to accept Hinduism as punishment for their 
activities in converting Hindus to their religion. In 1667 " he cut 
off the heads of four padres ! that refused to turn Marathas of his 
own persuasion, they having counselled the destruction of all that 
were opinionated as themselves; which so terrified the Viceroy that 
he was forced to revoke his fierce and severe edict. Shivaji burnt and 
destroyed all the country, and carried away 150 lack of pagodas/ 9 
Thus he was not only ready to take back apostates, but even persons 
of other religions were welcome into Hinduism. (4) Shivaji issued 
a proclamation to the Hindus of Go& in 1668. An extract from it 
will reveal the intensity of his religious and patriotic sentiments 
and the means adopted by him to prevent conversion. Here is a 
small extract from the long document. " Slaughter of the most 
revered cows by Yavanas and Mlechhas, destruction of our Hindu 
temples, disrespect of our all-honoured and all-pervading religion 
shown by these low people, violation of the most sacred chastity of 
our sisters and mothers brought about by these villains such 
horrible things happen constantly. . Does it become us who call 

1. Shtoji. Part III, p, 5GB. 


ourselves Kshatriyas to silently see these acts like cowards, and to 
turn a deaf ear to them ? Alas ! Alas ! It is a most shameful 
thing that instead of striving restlessly till death for the uplift of our 
country which should be dear to us like our parents, we should be 
whiling away our time foolishly, tactlessly and indifferently even in 
the critical times like the present. What more deplorable thing can 
there be than the fact that we, with our own hands, should destroy 
our houses, our gods, our religion and culture by adopting a 
fawning attitude towards the Mlechhas, only for the sake of a little 
livelihood ? " * 

(5) Here is some English evidence on the religious policy of 
Shivaji towards the Portuguese. Both the parties used to " daily 
quarrel, the cheifest cause of his hatred to them being for forcing 
orphans of his caste to turn Roman Catholics." (6) The Captain 
of Bassien turned against the Jesuits for bringing troubles on the 
state by their proselytizing zeal, and even went to the length of 
burning their houses. Thus it is clear that a very great pressure 
was brought by Shivaji on the Portuguese government for stopping 

(7) He was ever watchful against insults offered to his 
co-religionists by the Siddis. He even invested Bombay for the 
return of Brahmans who had been kidnapped by the Siddi and kept 
there. The English severely punished the culprits, returned the 
Brahmans, and thus saved the island from invasion. That Shivaji 
was far in advance of his times in respect of conversion to 
Hinduism, is proved by the fact that even after the lapse of 260 
years, the Hindus are still opposed to the Shuddhi movement. 
The greatness of Shivaji is manifest from the conquest of the 
deep-rooted orthodoxy of the fanatic Brahmans of his time. 

9. The Hindus, a nation The Hindus of the time of Sbivaji 
were divided and sub-divided into hundreds of castes and territorial 
groups. Even the Brahmans of Maharashtra were divided into three 

1. tftivfc* mfrr cfafffl by w* witft vmJHK P. 112. 

^. Shiraji, II, 521. HOT. 1675. 


mutually warring groups of the Konkan, Karad and the Desh. 
Their jealousies have continued even up till now. They do not 
inter-marry and inter-dine with each other. Similarly, the Marathas 
were divided into numerous sub-castes. The jealousies of the 
Bhosales, Ghorpades, Shirkes, Ghatages, Mores, Nimbalkars, and 
Dafles are well-known. The struggle of the Prabhus, Saraswats and 
Brahmans against each other and against the Marathas was no less 
keen. The lower classes, touchables and untouchables, were helots 
Of the society. There was not even a pretence to social equality. 

The greatness of Shivaji is evident from the attempts made by 
him to harmonize these antagonistic elements. He put an end to 
their struggles by giving each group opportunity to serve the state, 
by infusing into them the spirit of common nationality and an 
indomitable spirit of resistance to the foreigner. He quickened into 
them the sense of preserving their religion, race and culture from the 
onslaughts of the Muslims, and of self -confidence in their energies. 

The Mawal peasants, the Hetkari labourers, the wild tribes of 
the Ramoshis and Bhils, the untouchables like Mangs and Mahars, 
the advanced classes made up of the Brahmans and Prabhus, the 
military people like the Marathas, one and all were united together 
for the service of the state. He showed to the Hindu world that 
a Brahman was not merely an expert in pen, but could boldly 
wield the sword, lead armies, and defeat even the invincible 
Moguls. Moreover, the wild tribes and passive peasants were turned 
into loyal and indomitable soldiers. The welfare, prosperity and 
progress of the state were the aims for which all the castes 
and groups were to work under the magnetic guidance of his 
constructive genius. The saints furthered this cause of political 
unification and social fusion of castes by their forceful preaching. 
Just read the blood-stirring appeal of saint Ramdas. " Die for the 
sake of religion, but do not die till you have killed others. Our 
Raj should be won back by killing and murdering others* In 
normal times kings should do their royal duties, Kshatriyas should 
perform the duties of a Kshatriya, Brahmans should do theirs in 
all ways. But, if at all, gods are destroyed, death is better .than 


life itself. Then it should be understood that even one's own 
religion is destroyed. All Marathas should be brought together, 
our Maharashtra Religion should be furthered. If no endeavour is 
made to save it, our ancestors will laugh at us. There is no doubt 
at all that enemies of our gods are all dogs, and should be thoroughly 
destroyed. Devotees of gods will surely become victorious. 

" Gods should be raised to the head. All the people together 
should raise a cry, and the destroyer of our territory should be 
extirpated for the sake of establishing Dharma. For this purpose 
discrimination, thought and unending effort should be adopted as 
occasion arises. Rama killed Rdvan through the boon of Goddess 
Tulaja. Oh ! this Goddess Tulaja Bhavani is the famous 
boon-giver of Rama. For this reason Ramdas contemplates her in 
his mind. 1 " 

Such stirring appeals of intensive nationalism must have 
brought about national unity and religious awakening throughout 
Maharashtra. The work of the saints in furthering religious reforms 
among all classes of the people is discussed in the next chapter. 

1. B. V. Bhmt, ttah. Db., p. 184. 


e and Reformation 

1. Spread of Bjtticism under the Yadavas Under the free 
atmosphere of the Devagiri Yadavas towards the end of the 13th 
and the beginning of the 14th century, there arose a galaxy of saints 
who were the founders and propagators of mysticism in Maharashtra. 
Dnyandeva, a Brahman ( 1271-1294 ); Namadeva, a tailor; Gora,. 
a potter; Samvata, a gardener; Narahari, a goldsmith; Choka, an 
untouchable; Sena, a barber; Janabai, a maid-servant; Kanhopatra, 
a dancing girl; these form a group of teachers who were working: 
together for the spread of democratic mysticism. It has been aptly 
remarked that ' the gates of the Bhakti school were ever open. 
Whoever entered was hailed as a brother, nay more, was 
honoured as a saint. All were santas. Age and sex, caste and 
class, breathed not in this equalising air. For five successive 
centuries, Maharashtra was the abode of that noblest and truest of 
all Democracies, the Democracy of the Bhakti School.' ' 

2. Results of religions persecution The fall of the Yadava 
Empire, the foundation of the Bahamani kingdom and the 
aggressions of Muslims in the Deccan, smothered the light of 
Bhakti lit up by the said saints. With the spread of Islam, 
oppression grew apace. The Muslim rulers in India demolished 
the temples of the Hindus and Jains; built mosques instead; burnt 
libraries ; abolished Mathas or religious houses and monasteries; 
discouraged education, literature and art; and tried numerous 
means to tempt and force Hindus into their fold. The process of 
conversion went on increasing with the growth and deepening of 
the Muslim rule in India. The Aryan culture and social structure 
found no place in the new polity. Classical literature bad a rapid 
decline. Thousands of schools died out or were forcibly closed 
down. The masses began to sink deeper and deeper into illiteracy 

1. R. D. Ranade, Mysticisjn in Maharashtra, p. 409. 


and ignorance. In fact, the study of letters had perished for alt 
except a few Brahmans, merchants and upper classes. 

3. Political condition* favourable to recradetcewe of religion 
thoif hft The lamp of Bhakti remained flickering for two centuries. 

(a) During the 16th century the dissensions of the Deccani and 
foreign Muslims led the kings and the court parties to depend upon 
the good-will of their Hindu subjects and the Hindu nobility. 
Persecution and intolerance naturally declined in the Muslim states. 

(b) The presence of high Hindu officials and lords in the Deccan 
states blunted the edge of persecution, (c) Then therrf arose a 
constant danger of Mogul invasion of the Deccan from the close of 
the 16th century. The rulers of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and 
Oolconda were naturally anxious to win the sympathy of their 
subjects and thereby continue the existence of their states, 
otherwise these were in danger of being absorbed in the Mogul 
Empire. All these political causes produced an atmosphere of 
freedom of thought and of religious liberty. In such a liberal 
atmosphere, Ekanatha, Tukaram and their disciples preached 
mysticism, condemned caste, and expounded means for the 
purification of the Hindu religion. This movement received 
special impetus from Shahji and his son Ekoji in the Karnatic and 
by Shivaji and his successors in Maharashtra. While on one side 
the reformation movement served to further the cause of Swaraj, 
on the other, it was strengthened and advanced by the Swaraj. In 
fact, reformation and Swaraj are causally related to each other. 

4. The Renaissance With the establishment of Swaraj a new 
era dawned upon Maharashtra. The patronage shown to scholars 
and saints by Shahji and Shivaji produced a renaissance here. No 
other period of history can be said to be so rich in saints, seers 
and scholars, poets, prophets and philosophers as that of Shahji 
and Shivaji. They released forces of life in all spheres. The minds 
of Hindus were filled with the joy of political liberty and religious 
freedom from foreign oppression. The elevating spirit of security 

-of religion and property permeated the people. Released from the 
shackles of centuries, the Hindu mind cfluld have free flights in the 


spiritual sphere, and in the realms of poetry and literature. There* 
was a real quickening of intellectual, literary and religious life in 
the whole of Maharashtra, when persecution was replaced by 
encouragement and indifference by patronage. The period became 
amazingly remarkable for the flowering of the genius, so that seers, 
scholars and saints achieved such a fame that they have left their 
glory to our own day. 

5. The Reformation These saints began to shed spiritual 
light by speaking to the people in their own tongue, instead of in 
the Sanskrit language which was an all-India medium for the- 
learned alone. During the 16th century pious men well-known for 
their saintly character, devotional spirit, spiritual gifts and a 
forceful literary style, preserved Hinduism by popularizing such 
classics as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita and the Puranas. 
They stimulated men's minds for spiritual culture, created a love 
for their ancient religion and polity; and finally blunted the edge 
of Muslim intolerance. Thus this reformation movement was 
miraculously effective in safeguarding the Hindu religion and 
neutralizing the aggressions of Islam. It created a valuable 
literature in Marathi; served to unify the nation by removing 
caste-distinctions; raised the Shudras and the outcastes to the 
social status and spiritual power of the Brahmans ; improved the 
status of women and sanctified family life ; brought about a 
reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims and thus made the 
whole nation more tolerant than before; it checked the excesses of 
polytheism ; it condemned all external forms of religion by 
emphasizing love and faith as the means of realizing God. In the 
words of the late Justice Ranade,. " it tended in all these ways to 
raise the nation generally to a higher level of capacity both of 
thought and action, and prepared it, in a way no other nation in 
India was prepared, to take the lead in re-establishing a united 
native power in the place of foreign domination." 1 

C. The re?i?al of old celts was the greatest feature of the 
religious life of the 15th and 16th centuries. The worship of 

U Baaafe, ft, M. P., ?, 172. 
S. 23 


Vithoba and Dattatreya was popularized by five saints hi 

Bhanudas ( 1448-1513 ) brought back the idol of Vithoba from 
Vijayanagar to Pandharpur, and thoroughly devoted himself to ite 
worship. Thereby the cult of Vithoba was revived and strengthened 
by him in Maharashtra. 

Narasinha Saraswati flourished about the middle of the 15th" 
century, as is seen from a reference in the Guru -Char itra, a work 
by Gangadhar who was a famous disciple of the saint. No work 
of Narasinha Saraswati is so far known, but he was responsible 
mainly for the spread of devotion to Dattatreya in Maharashtra, 
The Guru-Charitra is the sacred book of this sect. 

Janardan Swami ( 1504-1575 ), the famous Guru of Ekanatha, 
was in the service of a Muhammedan officer in the fort of E)evagiri. 
He was a great devotee of Dattatreya, and is known in Maharashtra, 
more on account of his numerous disciples than by any literary 

7. Saint Ekaoatha was a descendant of Bhanudas and the- 
foremost disciple of Janardan Swami. Given to the devotion of 
God from his early childhood, he rejuvenated Bhagvat Dharma in 
Maharashtra. Being a close student of Dnyaneshwari, he gave anew 
version of that famous poem. Ekanatha's main work is his melodious 
commentary on the llth chapter of the * Maha-Bhagvat.' His 
* Rukmini-Swayamvar ' too has captured the hearts of so m&ny 
people that it is widely read by girls expectant of marriage. He 
may be said to have lived from 1533 to 1599 A. D. Ekanatha 
made the ideas of Vedanta familiar to the man in the street. " With 
Jnanadeva, philosophy had reigned in the clouds; with Ekanatha, it 
came upon the earth and dwelt among men. He championed thft 
voiceless millions, espousing the cause of the vernaculars. His 
heart went out to the spiritually blind and mute, and he knew that 
the way to teach them was to approach them through their own 
mother tongue." 

The sixteenth cefitury qtt|ed with the pregnant teachings of 

turi*mda half the peopte of 


Had been partly aroused, by the writings of thi$ saint* 
and his few disciples. Among these the following four have played 
an important role in the spread of the Bhagvat Dharma. Dasopant, 
one of the closest disciples of the saint, was a member of the 
Ekanatba Mystic Circle. He is the author of the biggest Marathi 
commentary on the Bbagvadgita containing li lacks of couplets. 
He lived from 1551 to 1615 A. D. Jani Janardan, another famous 
follower of Ekanatha, is an author of many philosophical and 
devotional verses. He died in 1601 A. D. Rama Janardan and 
Vitjhal Renukanandan also belong to the Ekanatha Circle. Like 
the other three saints and scholars, they contributed much to 
ennoble the social and religious atmosphere of the time. 

Vishnudas, Madhavdas, Mahalingdas, Tryambakraj, Krishnadas 
and Krishna Yadnyavalki were the other most famous poets 
contemporary with Ekanatha. One Muslim saint, born of the 
royal Bahamani dynasty, accepted Hinduism and was called 
Mrityumjaya Swami. He is the writer of numerous works on 
devotion and mysticism in Marathi. 1 The life-work of Ekanatha, 
his followers and contemporaries consisted in preaching the devotion 
of God even to the outcastes. This sect became very popular 
through its doctrine of " equality in devotion." 

8. The immortal Tokarim Now we come to another luminary 
in the religious sphere. His light has not faded, but has grown 
brighter with the lapse of centuries. He is the immortal Tukaram 
who has been a pillar of light and peace to millions of persons in 
Maharashtra. He was born in 1608 in a Shudra family which was 
given to the worship of Vithoba. He lost his parents at the age of 
thirteen and used to earn his livelihood by business. But he became 
more and more engaged in study and meditation, and ultimately 
turned a recluse. He began to compose verses, and gave numerous 
sermons to the people on spiritual topics and on the worship of 
Vithoba. His fame soon spread far and wide. Even Shivaji is 
said to have attended his sermons. He was able to attract a large 
Dumber of devoted disciples who, inspired by the en-eat ffenius ol 

I> S, K, Altekar, Sbri Sapartba Cb,, pp, 4U-41 


their preceptor, became preachers of hte doctrines. In the Svordft 
of Prof. Bhate, "by satire, by ridicule, by cajolery and by 
supplication, he tried his best to reform tbe society of his timfc. 
Thus he was a radical reformer of social customs and ideas. 1 The 
influence of Tukaram over men of his time was wonderful. Thufc 
Tukaram was under the class of saints and teachers who have beeu 
prophets of all ages.' 1 f 

9. Disciples of Tnkiram Moraya Gosawi and his son 
Chintamani of Chinchwad were the devoted followers of TukaramL 
The former was a famous saint in the early period of Shivaji and 
composed the Ganesh Purana. He is said to have often visited 
Ramdas. Thirteen other learned disciples of Tukaram vigorously 
carried on the work of the master in various places. These were the 
centres of light, unity, devotion, spiritual solace and social refornp 
among Hindus of all castes* We find among them Marathas* 
Brahmans, oilmen, gardeners, etc. Their names are Rameshvara, 
Qangadhar, Kond Bhatt, Santaji Teli, Navaji Mali, Shivaji Kasar* 
Abaji Joshi, Kondpatil, Mahadaji Pant, Gavarshet, Malji Gade, 
Malharpant Kulkarni, Konhoba, the younger brother of saint 

The names of a few more disciples who composed literary 
works were : Bhojling, Nagesha, Vithal Nand, Uddhav Chitgh&n* 
Sidhapal, Ranganath of Mogre, Niranjan of Karad, Vithal of 
Kalapur, Ganeshnath, Niloba, etc. 

10. Contemporaries of Tukaram Many more saints and poets 
richly contributed to the reformation and literary renaissance by 
their sermons and writings. The names of the outstanding 
personalities 3 are given below. i J 

Mukteshwara ( 1608-1660 ), a grandson of saint Ekanatha, 
ranks very high as a poet. His Marathi version of the Ramfcyana, 
the Mahabharata and other books has survived up till now. He 
was a contemporary of Tukaram. 

1. G. C. Bhate, History of Modern Marathi Literature, p. 27, 

2. J. R. AJagfconkar, Tukaram, pp. 163-181. 

3. S. K. Altekar, Sbri Sanmrtlm Cb M pp, 417-428. 


of 4fie ymiest posts of TffriiaHu4*im He was 
qioNmd *wsa>e wpcks -in that Impose. H^ 
was a most prolific writer of Marathi works. 

* There are numerous works written by Ramavailabbadas which 
have escaped the ravages of time. He was born at Daulatabad 
in 1610. 

Shivakalyan flourished in the first half of the 17th century. 
He was a brilliant commentator on Dnyaneshwari, and a writer of 
books on Rama and Krishna. 

Lolimbaraj of Junnar was another poet-saint of great fame. 
He also composed a work on medicine by name " Vaidyajivan " 
in 1633. 

Shamaraja much influenced the religious thought of his time 
by writing Marathi commentaries on the Upanishads, the 
Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Bhagvata. 

Bodhale Buva of Dhamangaon was one of those famous saints 
who were well known for their poetry and devotion. He was a 
composer of Abhangas. 

Raghunatha Swami of Nasik was also a great devotee of 
Rama* He used to take the Ganges water to Rameshwaram and 
its water was carried back to Benares. Another Raghunatha was a 
Marathi poet of a very high order. Mention must be made of the 
celebrated poets like Shivaram, Mukund, Muchkund, Kashi, etc. 

11. The Naked Messiah of Blabtrasbtni We now come to 
Ramdas, the greatest saint of Shivaji's time. Born in 1608 at 
Jainb in the Nizam's territory, he left his home to the surprise x>f 
all at the age of twelve years during the performance of his 
marriage ceremony. He spent the pext twelve years in celebacy, 
mentation a &4 realization of God by performing religious austerities. 
Then he visited the holy places of the Hindus throughout the 
length and breadth of India for twelve years. During his long 
travels he personally observed the religious, social and political 
condition of the Hindus in northern ap<} southern India, His soul 
must have been deeply stirred at the Degradation of the masses and 


To* nagfat faav* been thinking oat the means ojf tfctir 
saiv^ttoa and poiiticfd deJUwiwnc*. In oneof toppere rfce Swjuai 
says that ' the people are oppressed by the Muhammedanfl, witfc 
the result that many are starving. -Life and property are in (footer 
and farced conversions are taking pl^ce. Human corpses are 
left on the ground uaeared for, while those who are living have 
insufficient clothing.' 

He made up his mind to found a new cult for the worship 
of Rama, and selected Chafal in the Satara district as a fit centre 
for his Math. He built there a temple of Rama and Hanuman, 
and began to preach the glorious deeds of the epic hero and his own 
principles of religion. Then he devoted ten years of his life 
( 1654-1664 ) at Shivathar near Mahableshwar in writing a most 
inspiring work called Dasbodh, the magnum opus of the Ramdasi 

He had an extraordinary power of organization and a 
remarkable genius of selecting right men for conducting Maths in 
many important places throughout India. His magnetic personality, 
his unsullied chaiacter, his burning zeal, his vast learning, his 
-grim earnestness, and his sweet eloquence inspired hundreds of men 
and women to devote themselves to his cause. They readily 
renounced the world, and became recluses like him. They took the 
sacred vow of propagating the Ramdasi cult amongst the people. 
He had indeed an unparalleled success in producing thousands of 
devoted disciples and followers. This naked Swami infused a new 
life among the masses. He can be rightly styled the naked Messiah 
of Maharashtra. 

12. The work ef the Messiah A list of 111 disciples has been 
-given by a biographer of Ramdas. Out of these 55 disciples were 
in charge of monasteries which were established from one end of 
India to another. Rameshwaram, Badrikedar, Dwarka, Benares,. 
-Ayodhaya, Muttra, Alkhabad, Tanjore, Kanheri, Shrishaila, 
Kaajivaram, Karanja, Telangan, Pandharpur, Surat, Jatnb, Chafal, 
Hiraj were the important centres for the propaganda of the tfult of 
JRamdas. The worship of Ramp-$e ^onquerpr of the 

190 SfflVAji THE GREAT 

and the deification of Marati 'the personification of devotion and* 
physical force* were taught to the people. Thus all these placed 
became centres of politico-relifclous preaching for religious reform. 
Swaraj and unity among the Hindus. When Shivaji himself and 
high officials like Nilo Sondeva, Ramchandra Pant, Balaji Avaji*. 
Prahlad Pant, etc. became disciples of the Swami, his mission 
must have received special strength among the masses. We will 
now name a few most prominent disciples who carried on the work 
of the master. The male disciples of Ramdas form a very large- 
galaxy of poets and saints. 

Shrestha was the elder brother of Ramdas ; his real name was 
Gangadhat, but he used to call himself Kami -Ram das. Two or 
three works on devotion such as Bhakti-Rahasya and Sulabhopaya 
were written by him. He died in 1677. 

Jayaram Swami of Vadgaon and Ranganath Swami of Nigadi 
were called his sons by Guru Ramdas. The latter was devoted to 
the Ananda school of philosophy, and wrote a good many 
books on the Bhakti cult, such as Guru-Gita, Panchikarana, 
Shukarambha-Samvad and Yoga-Vasishthasara. He lived from 
1612 to 1684. 

Anandamurti of Brahmanal in the Satara district and Keshav 
Swami of Hyderabad were other prominent disciples who founded 
Maths for the propagation f of the Ramdasi principles. Uddhav, 
a poet of great renown, was another distinguished disciple of the 
Swami. He was in charge of the two Maths at Takali and Indur 
in the Nizam's territory. 

Kalyan, the greatest of the disciples of the saint, was in charge- 
of the Domgaon Math ( 1678-1714 ). Diwakar Gosavi and Vasudeva 
Gosavi were highly respected disciples of the Swami. One Dinakar 
Gosavi, another disciple of Ramdas, was a great poet. He was 

1. Additional disciples were : Bhimaji Sahapurkar, Trimbak, Dmradas, 
Mahadeva, Mnsalram, Mauni Gopavi, Bbolaram, Anantabhaty. Dftttatrey*,- 
, Xodandaram, Hanumant, Divakarbbat, Ba jipant Sahapurkar, Maharodra of Berar*. 
tealakaram, Sbrfdhar of Ramtek, Bhairar of Gokarna, Janardan of Surat, ShiTtan? 
of Telangan, Sadathira of Faichur. S, K. Altekar, *Shri Samartha Charitra,' 
pp 198-524'; Demtog, Rimdas od tfte Ramdasis, pp. 139*142. 


=at the head, of the Tisgaon Math ixr the- Ahmednagar distripfe 
Giridhar Swami, one of the most prolific writers, is the famous 
author of the Samartha Pratapa which records the events in 
Ramdas's life. ^ . 

13. WOMB Saiits The era of Shivaji also gave birth to 
poets and saints among women who furthered the cause of the 

Bahinabai (1628-1700), Venubai ( D. 1678), Premabai, 
Akkabai, and Ambikabai are pre-eminent among them. The names 
of eighteen female saints can be traced. Bahinabai was the disciple 
of Tukaram, and she used to attend the sermons of Jayaram Swami 
-at Kolhapur. She spent about 60 years in composing verses on the 
love of God and on high moral ideas. 

Venubai was born at Miraj and passed her married life at 
Kolhapur. She became one of the greatest disciples of Ramdas 
and was appointed head of the monastery at Miraj. Her Sita- 
Svayamvar * is a work of a high order. She has her S&m$dhi at 
Sajjangad. Akka worked zealously for the cause for forty years 
after the saint's death. She built a great temple of Rama at 
Sajjangad. One Satibai was in charge of the Maruti temple 
at Shahapur. Bayabai, Ambabai, and Premabai, other disciples 
of Ramdas, were well-known as poetesses, ' while Sakhabai, 
Rukminibai, Manabai, Gangabai* Godabai, etc. were also very 
-devoted disciples of the Swami. Thus females were not only initiated 
in the Ramdasi cult, but they were made heads of maths to preach 
and propagate the principles of the new faith. 

14. Muslim Saiitt Even Muslims were so much inspired by 
the new spiritual atmosphere that they became worshippers of Vithal 
or Vishnu. Shekh Muhammad of Chambhargonda is one of those 
recluses. His Marathi works in poetry like Pavana Vijaya, 
Dnyanasagar, etc. possess a real merit. His followers observe 
the Ramzan an4 Ekadashi fasts up to this day. Shekh Sultan and 
Shekh Farid were the other Muslim saints of the period. . 

Bawa Yaqut of Kelstii near Janjira, a Muslim saint of repute* 

1. S. K. Altekar, Sbri Samartha CJiaritra* pp. 234+419.: 


was approached by the Raja for blessings to capture the fort of 

15. fawaal cmrtfcct witk frfftts - Shivaji came into special 
contact with a few prominent saints. Mauni Bawa or * the silent 
saint ' of Maharashtra who had established himself at Patgaon near 
the formidable fort of Rangna in the inaccessible hills of the 
Sahyadri, was one of them. His fame for piety spread all over 
Maharashtra. Shivaji went to him to seek benediction fdr his 
success in the Karnatic expedition. This saint gave him an 
assurance of victory. Therefore on his return Shivaji made SL 
donation of Rs. 400 per annum for distributing free meals to all 
visitors of the Math. It still continues under the patronage of the 
Kolhapur rulers. 

Sitalpuri, a very pious Sanyasi of Benares, was invited and 
made his preceptor by Shivaji. He was allowed to stay at the holy 
town of Sangameshwar, afterwards famous for the capture of 
Sambhaji by the Moguls. He is named Achalpuri by Chitnis (78). 

Parmanand Gosavi of Poladpur and 'Narain Ashram of 
Trimbakeshwsr were highly honoured and served by Shivaji. 
Similarly, another Hindu saint Parmanand was also approached by 
Shivaji ' for benedictions. 

The famous Hindu poet Bhushan has earned a great reputation 
by writing stirring heroics on the Raja. He was along with his elder 
brother first in the service of Aurangzeb, but he left the latter in 
disdain and accepted the patronage of the Maratha ruler whom he 
immortalized in his ' Shiva Bhushan ' and ' Shiva Bhavani.' 

16. Encouragement of Sanskrit An illiterate man could hardly 
have any love for the ancient and dead language of the Hindus. He 
would have patronized Mar at hi authors, but Shivaji gave special 
patronage to Sanskrit. A few works of the time have come down to us. 

One celebrated Sanskrit poet Jayaram wrote the " Story of 
the Capture of Panhata Hill " describing the heroic' exploits of 
Shivaji. He is also the author of the well-known historical novel 
entitled ' Radha-Madnav Vilas Champu.' This poet lived at the 
cburt of Shahji in the fcarn&tic. 

1. 91 Q. B. Vftttklr, pp, *8-I31. 1. Sfari 9amarth Ch., pp, 210, 4*0. 

S. 24 


was given the titles of the 'Lord of Poets' 
and * Indrfc among poets ' for his extraordinary poetic gifts. He 
was first patronized by Sbahji in the Karnatic, and then by 
Shivaji in Maharashtra. He planned a historical Purana of 100 
chapters on the life of Shivaji and his ancestors. Only 31 chapters 
are now available of this epic, and these bring the story of Shivaji's 
life up to 1660. The remaining chapters are not yet available* 
The poet was intimately connected with the court and politics of 
Shivaji's time. He accompanied or followed his master to Agra 
and was arrested by the Moguls in Dec. 1666. Nothing further is 
known of his life and work, but his sons and grandsons were gifted 
with poetic genius and these were patronized by the successors 
of Shivaji. 

Gafabhat who was known as the Brahmadeva and Vyas 
of his age, wrote a historic poem entitled the " Rise of the Sun 
Shiva." It was a work on religious and social duties. Another 
work of his on polity called " Samayanaya " is traced by Aufrecht 
in the MSS. Library of Florence. 

Krishna Jyetisbi was entrusted with the work of correcting 

the Calendar, so that he wrote out ' Karna-Kaustubha.' 

Taka, a disciple of Brahmanand, used to live at Satara. This 

Sanskrit scholar translated Sanskrit works into Marathi. 

Raghanath Haaamote wrote the ' Vyavahara Kosha ' wherein 
the Persian and Arabic words then current in Muslim India were 
translated into Marathi and Sanskrit. All the words then current 
in political circles for administrative, legal, judicial, financial and 
military affairs have been rendered into Sanskrit or contemporary 
Marathi. It is indeed a most useful contribution. He also wrote 
a Marathi work on Nala and Damayanti. 

Then Gorfod lanre, the author of " Shiva-Rajyabhisheka 
-Kalpataru " and the rival of Gagabbat, deserves a passing notice. 

Even at the Tanjoce court in the Karnatic there were 
contemporary scholars who wrote works in Saaskrftor Marathi 


Besides Rfighunarh Pandit, Madfcav, Bhimaswami, Afta&d Taaaya, 
and Gosavi Nandaq were well -known amongst them. 1 

' This large number of saints purified the spiritual atmosphere 
bf their time from 1640 to 1690 with their sublime writings and 
preachings. Besides these celebrities, there must have been a 
great many ordinary poets. AH these produced a vast literature on 
a variety of subjects. An idea of their literary activity can be had 
from the fact that Dasopant's works cover two lakh couplets, 
while Ekanatha, Shivakalyan, Krishna Yadnyavalki contributed 
approximately sixty thousand couplets each. 

17. Shi?aji inpplied the urge to reformation : Mr. Justice E. 
Abbot has partially stated the truth by remarking that ' the light 
spreads all through that century; and it cannot be thought that 
Shivaji escaped from being touched by it, while seeking to carry 
out what he considered his life's work.' 

Shivaji was not merely an on -looker or a passive subject to 
receive these religious and spiritual influences, but he was 
supplying the necessary urge by various means, so that the 
wonderful flowering of genius and outburst of spiritualism were 
mainly due to him. By starting the new department of religion 
under a minister he encouraged scholars and religious men to devote 
themselves to study and spiritual unfoldment. Hundreds of 
religious men were relieved of worldly cares by his munificent gifts* 
He gave five lakh pagodas to Keshav Swami at Hyderabad.* The 
holy men were protected, encouraged and enthused by the royal 
patron to carry on their religious propaganda free from Muslim 
persecution. There was a universal feeling of joy and pride in the 
country that a saviour of Hindu religion was born in the person of 
Shivaji. Numerous saintly persons devoted themselves to revive 
with unusual enthusiasm the dethroned and detested religion 
of the Hindus. Shivaji h&d consequently a very active share in 

r- JJ " 

quickening the twin movements of renaissance and riforjnation TO 


V I. SbriiSmmmitba Ch., pp. 210, 429. 


18, tfce cmrtfftitiea ef saioU to Swaraj Ekanath*, Tukarain; 
and their disciples form a long series of saints who boldly protested 
against the decline in Hinduism and passionately taught Bhakti ot 
devotion to God as the source of a true religion. They encouraged 
Hindu unity by denouncing caste and Brahman ascendency, by 
creating racial pride, love for ancient heroes, a strong sentiment 
of the superiority of Hindu culture and religion, and by a detestation 
of foreign rule. The preparation of such a background by 1650 
was of no small value to the cause of Swaraj. But a new spirit was 
infused by Ramdas who should be styled as the father of aggressive 
and victorious Hinduism. He was the founder of the new order 
known after him. He popularized the worship of Rama the epic 
conqueror of Havana, of Balabhim who may be said to be an 
incarnation of physical force, and of Maruti Rama's devoted 
servant ever-ready to serve him at the risk of his own life. Victory* 
virility and service were the three principles of his new religion 
which was to save Hinduism from foreign tyrants. He inspired 
numerous disciples with this new cult, made them heads of Mathas 
or monasteries for the propagation of the creed, established new 
gods and-built new temples. 

He was first and foremost a saint devoted to mysticism, 
Vedanta, social and religious reforms. It was his Bhakti and 
saintly character which attracted thousands of men and women 
to him. Occasionally, during his talks, sermons and poems he 
gave harrowing accounts of the persecution of the Hindus, and 
thereby prepared the people for overthrowing the Muslim yoke and 
establishing their own kingdom instead. Riv. Deming has rightly 
remarked that " in this respect the teaching of Ramdas does differ 
from that of Tukaram and the other Bhaktas." 

Ramdas was veritably a saint of unique originality, mystic 
vision and superhuman energy. By dint of saintly cfanfecter 
and charming eloquence, he attempted to create among the people- 
^patriotic sentiments and a martial spirit to avenge the wrongs 
done by the alien rulers and to defend their own religion and 
country Jrom the Mlechhas. The politicaj propaganda was, however. 

Iff SmvAji Tut GREAT 

* secondary ideal. In summing up his mission, he has unequivocally 
stated that the foremost ideal was the exposition of God and the 
second object of the cult was the explanation of political policies. 1 
Thus he was not merely a great mystic like Ekanatha or Tukaram, 
but an inspiring patriot of bis time with a wonderful power of 
organization. The establishment of numerous mathas throughout 
the length and breadth of the country gives him a definitely 
distinctive role from the mystic saints preceding him. He taught 
to his followers that " political activities should be carried out 
secretly and carefully, and associations, wherever possible, should 
be organized upon a basis of equality."* 

Rev. Deming has aptly observed that Ramdas entered heart 
and sou) into the task of reviving the work of Shivaji in this regard 
and evidently approved of the secret political activities which 
helped to free Maharashtra from the Moslem yoke. The relation 
of Shivaji and Ramdas and their mutual influence upon each other 
have been discussed by several scholars. Here it will suffice to say 
that Shivaji used to pay respect to all saints. He came into personal 
contact with a few prominent Bhaktas, and Ramadas was one 
of them. During the last eight years of his life he was more in 
touch with this Swami than with any other saint. Hence he must 
have been influenced to some extent in his religious and political 
ideals by the advice of saint Ramdas. 

19. Reformation began in the 17th cental? According to 

Justice Ranade the religious revival covers a period of nearly five 

hundred years, and during this period some fifty saints and prophets 

flourished in this lana who left their indelible mark upon the 

country and its people. 8 This statement is not borne out by the 

facts presented in the preceding sections of this chapter. There 

. jM$"&o continuity in the reformative movement. Mukundraj, the 

Lfitst famous writer of Marathi prose and poetry, is said to have 

x lived in the beginning of the 13th century. DnyandevA* his brothers 

l. 5^T f$**IT ftwrr I 

ft, Dtsbodti, .}$? 


^Nivritti and Sopan and bis sister Muktabai, and even their disciple 
-Changdev had expired fay 1305 before the extinction of the Yadav 

Namadeva, a tailor by caste, grew to be a great poet and saint. 
He popularized the abstruse and profound philosophy of Dnyandeva 
among the people for some years more. But literary and religious 
activity received a sudden check by the ascendancy of Islam in the 
Deccan. The three saints of the 15th and 1 6th century, Bhanudas* 
Narasinha and Janardan Swami, were not literary men. They 
were Bhaktas or devotees of Dattatreya or Vithoba. Even the 
Mahanubhavas began to write works in a cipher alphabet, so that 
these did not reach the masses. It is consequently evident that 
the period of about 250 years from the death of Namadeva to 
the rise of Ekanatha, was barren in literary activity. The 
religious movement too remained suppressed. The language of the 
Dnyaneshwari had become obscure and unintelligible to the people. 
Therefore Ekanatha wrote out a popular version of that famous 
poem. Sporadic efforts were made by some Bhaktas here and there 
to keep alive Hinduism, yet as a whole both literary and reformative 
movements remained suppressed up to the close of the 16th century. 
Renaissance and reformation took birth in the teachings of 
Ekanatha, his disciples and other contemporary poets. These were 
vigorously developed by the profuse writings and profound teachings 
of Tukaram and his numerous disciples up to the middle of the 17th 
century. In short, the movements had their real rise in the last 
quarter of the 16th century. Within a period of 75 years up to 
1650 the lives and teachings of numerous saints brought about a 
new consciousness of Hindu unity, nationality and reform, and 
awakened a strong sentiment against Muslim oppression. Thus the 
-ground for Swaraj was not being prepared for three cent 
-only for three-quarters of a century. 

Secondly, merely fifty saints and poets did, 
a period of five hundred years, but more than 
carried on the new light during the 1 7th cent 
the era of Shivaji and Ramdas was specially 


distinguished saints and poets. Their number was about one* 
hundred and fifty. These flourished in all strata of the society am} 
in different parts of Maharashtra. The birth of such an extraordinary 
number of poets and saints within one generation forms a 
phenomenon by itself. No other country of the world in that age 
can boast of such an extensive and intensive literary activity on 
social and spiritual topics. But it has been seen that the source- 
of this remarkable energy is to be found in the simultaneous efforts 
of the Naked Messiah and the Political Prophet of Maharashtra. 
It is mainly they who created the new age of the renaissance and 
reformation in their own country. 

The Causes and Cenieqaencei of Sbi?aji's Success 

1. Caases ffivea by Ranade Having studied the personality, 
-administrative system and policies of the great king, we proceed to 
-analyse the factors contributing to his success. A review of the 
main achievements with which the great conqueror illumined the 
-pages of history will form a fitting epilogue of this work. 

According to the late Justice Ranade the ground was "prepared 
partly by nature, partly by the ancient history of the country, 
partly by the religious revival, but chiefly by the long discipline in 
arms which the country had undergone under Mahomedan rule for 
three hundred years. 1 ' ' Each one of these causes requires an 

2. The invincible Deccan The first point to be noticed is the 
fact that Maharashtra enjoys natural advantages of position and 
climate which are denied to the people of the north. 

It is a country of great natural strength. In particular the 
mountainous region of the Western Ghats bristles with hundreds of 
hills. These shoot aloft in steep and terrific cliffs and craggy 
summits which form natural fortresses. These bid defiance to the 
loot of man and horse. The prodigious and continuous rainfall, 
the steepness of the passes, the dense and pestitential atmosphere 
of the jungles, and the frequency of terrible thunderstorms made 
all warfare in such a district, during, several months in each year, 
almost impossible. Grant Duff has truly remarked that 'in a 
jnilitary pqintof view there t is probably no stronger country in 
the worjd than Maharashtra.'* Col. Tone confirms the view by 
Baying that a/cpuntry so strongly situated is unconquerable. * 

:> The heavy Mogul cavalry was useless in the Deccan, especially 
in the bitty portions which were thickly wooded. The Muslim 

1. lUiwuJe.RiwoftheMttmthaPower/p. 38. 

2. Cf. Manocci, II, p. 230; Shivmji, Ptryil/pp. 182, 498. 


infantry was afraid to move through such wild jungles, for they- 
could be easily ambushed and cut down* The Maratha soldiers 
were expert mountaineers and they could easily climb precipitous 
hills, pass through inaccessible jungles, hide in the trees, live for 
days on Bajri bread and forest fruits. The Mogul forces were no- 
match for such hardy people. Dr. Fryer, Khafi Khan, the Portuguese 
and contemporary writers have borne testimony to the fact that the 
precipitous and soaring hills favoured the success of Shivaji. 

His strength lay in the everlasting hills, but he took care that 
their peaks and spurs were crowned with a multitude of forts. "He 
made these forts the terror of all India; the cradle of his nation; 
the basis of his conquests ; the steps of his ambition, his home and 
his joy ; many of them he built, all of them he strengthened." ' 

We must not exaggerate the importance of these physical 
features. The impregnability of forts and the inaccessibility of the 
mountainous regions could not help the Marathas against the 
English. Several empires have risen and died in the Deccan 
inspite of these physical advantages. Heroes like Shivaji took 
advantage of the physical strength of the country and founded 
empires, while their successors did not have the genius and nerve 
to maintain the same. 

3. Next to the natural advantages, the character of the people 

tod their institutions are said to have played an important role in 
the movement of Swaraj. The system of village communities and 
Panchayats coupled with the Ryotwari tenure of land held in full 
ownership by small peasant proprietors maintained democratic 
tendencies in the people. They cultivated habits of mutual helpfulness 
and independence which had stood them to good account in past 
times. But it is ignored that these institutions were in existence 
for many centuries during which several empires saw the light of 
day and ceased to be. Consequently there is no inherent power in th* 
institutions and habits to give independence and self-government 
to the people. The magic power of .a Shivaji is needed to utilize: 
these forces in the establishment of an independent kingdom. 
1, ShiyajJ, Pwt IV, p. 79. 

S. 25 


' 4. The third contributory factor was the ref ormtiea i 

We have already shown that the religious revival in Maharashtra 
reilly began from the 17th century, and became effective .from 
*bout 1630, the time when Shahji led the movement of Sw*n& 
It gathered strength only under the inspiration and patronage ofc 
Shivaji. The Swadharma and Swaraj movements are inter-related,, 
qach contributing its strength to the other. The influence of the 
reformation should not be exaggerated. 

5. The taunaice of the Hilda elemtat in the Muslim 
monarchies is represented to have formed a potent factor in the 
revolutionary movement. Thousands of Hindu officers were no 
doubt employed in the civil and military departments. - There were' 
numerous feudal lords and chieftains who could bring retainers? 
for the service of the Sultan. ' But we should not forget th^t the 
Ghorpades, Mohites, Mores, Ghatges, Shirkes, Gujars, Dalvis* 
Savants, and a host of other Hindu chiefs were opposed to the 
revolutionary Shivaji. They were faithful to the Bijapur government 
and were, naturally afraid of the loss of their estates and offices by 
the failure of the revolution. The Hindu gentry was not a source 
of strength but of weakness and opposition to Shivaji. He conquered 
them one by one, and thus by force of arms brought them under 
|us sway. A few families were won over by his conciliatory policy 
and marital connections. Nothing succeeds like success. Hi* 
wonderful exploits must have ultimately drawn thousands of 
warriors and officers, but in the beginning of his career he had to 
lace strong opposition from the Hindu lords and chiefs. 

* fc Otfcar OHttes The main causes of the rise and progress of 
Shtvaji may be said to be (1) misgovernmept in the Adil ShaW 
itate, (2) continuous wars, the financial drain, and internal 
weakness of this Deccan kingdom, (3) the incompetence and 
corruptibility of Muslim officers, and (4) 4h* conquest of its 
exports by ^he Maratba* (5) Guerilla tactics and the . lightning 
speed of the Maratha armies were the most potent ciMpeq of tit* 
hero's wccess. (6) Afroverfll, tbet* wa% the cemadfaMfi 


of the adventurer exploiting every weakness of the enemy. .Each 
one of these factors will be briefly explained hereafter. . r 

7. Mfof OTeranent in tfce Kjapor Idafden The Dutch from- 
Wingarla write that the government of this country is so unsettled 
and tyrannous that it is impossible to commit it to paper. 1 

On other occasion it is remarked that * the feudal system gave 
rise to abuse, extortion and grinding down of the population/ * 
Tyranny, oppression and corruption of lords, governors and officials 
inflicted untold miseries on the people. Their suffering was deepened 
by the frequent plundering and devastation caused by constant wars 
with Shivaji and the Moguls. Both had to be given tributes and 
Contributions. This economic drain depleted the state-treasure 
$nd bled the people white by oppressive taxes. 

8. Venality of off icew Shivaji -clearly observed that every 
man had his price. He lavishly squandered wealth in corrupting 
the greatest generals and highest officials of the Bijapur and Mogul 
Empires. How Raja Jaswant Singh was won over with ricb 
presents, has been humorously expressed by Da Guarda. " With 
these marvellous cannons Sevagy fought and reduced that fortress." 

5 The incompetence and venality of the Mogul and Bijapur 
generals were frequently noticed by the contemporary writers. 
The unequivocal evidence of the Bombay Council deserves notice* 
^Bahadur Khan, the king's foster brother who remayned in Deccan 
many years, attending Sevajee's motions, but effected little 
materially against him, by reason of being corrupted by him, feeding 
frequently his most insatiable avarice with gold." J 

3 ' " They lie effiminately at house fearful of wetting their tender 
skinns, our Maharajah plays his game soe wisely as to' destroy* 
rbbb, plunder, devastate and ruiae the major and best part of their 
kingdom. - ,>*,"* 

1 * Sfchtfl'f etaqmt of fa tea-pert* in the KonTcan deprived 
Bijapur Kingdom of the benefits rf tbe^ea-bornb trade, aaft 
1-4. SbWmjI, part il lP p; 334,30*. 



Specially stopped the coming of the Arabian steeds which were the 
life of its cavalry. Only a distant town Porto Novo beyond 
Tuticorin was left to Bijapur for the import of horses, but even 
this place was captured by the Marathas during the Karnatic 
expedition. Thus an irreparable damage was inflicted upon 
the military strength of the Adil Shahi kingdom. 

10. Gmrilla tactics Shivaji and his generals were past 
masters in the art of guerilla warfare which stupified and scattered 
the veteran armies of his implacable enemies, the Moguls. We 
have already given Da Guarda 1 s graphic picture of the ambuscades 
and sufferings to which the cumbrous army of Shaista Khan was 
subjected by the Maratha cavalry. * 

Lane Pool, a distinguished historian of the Muslim rule in 
India, has vividly described the lightning forages and dare-devil 
manoeuvres of the Marathas. "To fight such people was to do battle 
^ with air or to strike blows upon water ; like wind or waves they 
scattered and bent before the blows only to close in again the 
moment the pressure was taken off. They would dash down from 
'their mountain retreats and intercept a rich convoy of treasure ; and 
before the Moguls could get near them, they were back in their 
irocky forts. Even if pursued to their layer and smoked out, so to 
speak, they only went to some equally convenient and almost 
^inaccessible stronghold to resume their usual trade of plunder, in 
which they took unfeigned delight. Each man fought and' trapped 
juid pillaged in the same common causethe national war against 
sMubarnmadan .alliance and their separate efforts produced a 
sufficiently alarming collective .result. They were consequently 
popular enough with the country-folk, who regarded them as national 
.heroes and their .defenders against the inroads of tije infidels and 
jyere .alway&.eager to keep them informed of the movements, of. the 
nd,to wfur&jthem pi any. approaching danger." * 

*. Shivaji, Put II, p. 77. 

a. Un&trt\,***x*ig&>tt*^ 


. Sic E, Suilivan has declared that the Mavalis tra* for all 
rf: predatory and guerilla warfare, tfae most excellent 
in the world, ' 

11, iUmtbu wen* Wilted tten* The lightning speed with 
which die light Maratha 'cavalry and infantry tnoved, and tbfe 
guerilla tactics made the Maratha soldiers m terror to the Muslim 
armies. " So severe a terror he strikes into the people, that every 
three ot four days his very ttttme brings an anguish fever on them." 

The Bombay Council tocord in 1677 that Shivaji continues 
victorious even to a miracle in waging war with the potent kings 
Qf Hindustan and Deccan. 

The Dutch observe that " he continues robbing and looting 
wherever be comes as usual to the perdition of many of the unlucky 
inhabitants, neither the Mogul nor the Visiapur king being able to 
tame him. Sivasi's actions are of a marvellous insight and rather 
difficult to be traced." 

12. SliifajiaotleHtkaAkzftiderorlhraftd The Maratha 
soldiers were called ' birds ' by their inspiring master. The agility 

s w inged men was incredible in those days. ' Shivaji was not 
less dexterous than Alexander the Great. He was a second 
Sertorius and came not short of Hanniball for stratagems.' 

1 He rushed forth like lightning between the two armies and 
without their knowledge went away to Surat.' 

The jFrench Governor of Pondichery wrote that like fe 
>thnnd*rbolt Shivaji fell upon the citadel of Jmgi. 

, The Portuguese de*&tbed him as the Atila of India. "It is the 
cunning, determination and bravery erf this new Atilfe of India that 
he not only maintains a defensive but an offensive wftr.:.... ...... ;+, 

dog *nd bttrnteg all wherever he goes/' * 

* kNUfi Iri w ilry fa^r Even in 1664 Shivaji is said to 

airy bo3y by Ofcfedta. Shivaji it so fami*a!y 
for his notoViotil iftWfe thit import bfcth m*d* kt* * *ky 


ttddtd tt**g*; or elm it ware impossible -he co&d be at so 
<ttttuiy places as be is said to be *t* ail at one time. Sometimes he fe 
tortainly believed to be in one, and in a day or two in another 
place, and so in half a dozen remote one from another ; and there 
turns and plunder, all without control. That they ascribe to him 
to perform more than a Herculfen labour ; that he is become the 
talks of all conditions of people." ~ - 

Once more the people wonder at the incredible speed of his 
armies. Shivaji ' reigns victoriously and uncontrolled, that he is a 
terror to all the kings and princes round about, daily encreasing in 
strength. For he is very nimble and active, imposing strange labour 
upon himself that he may endure hardship ; and also exercises his 
-chief est men, that he flies to and fro with incredible dexterity.' 1 

Here is Da Guarda's testimony. " There grew the firm belief 
that Sevagy was everywhere. He often sent expeditions to different 
places at the same time and in all of them he was convoked and he 
was in command. The question is still unsolved whether be 
substituted others for himself or ( whether ) he was a magician or 
the devil acted in his place." 9 

Abbe Carry's evidence is no less interesting. ' This conqueror 
has all the virtues of a great general and an extreme activity which 
almost always decides the affairs of war ; hardly had he gained a 
l>attle or taken a city at one end of the kingdom, when he was at 
the other extremity, making havoc everywhere and surprising the 
important places/ Therefore the writer styles him as ' one of the 
greatest warriors that the East has seen since a long time* and 
who, for his courage, the rapidity of fate conquests and his great 
-qualities, does not badly resemble the great Swedish Kinp 
<Gustavus Adolphus.' 8 t 

SuHivan has aptly concluded that ' the fabulous speed of iu* 
Tttidnight marches and his sudden appearance in far off districts* 
before hi* absence from home was even suspected, read *lmo*t Uk 

I. 8ti**& Pfcrt II, pp. 102, 104. 

J, Si* $. $tef*phttf p* 40, . * mttoracai Mi*^ f#. JC, 46. 


14. Sorrey *f riipiifi How far the superhuman 

of this unique personality were responsible for creating a Jcintfdom* 
will be evident from a brief survey of his conquests. His political 
^career can be divided into five periods :-* 

The first period from 1645 to 1655 of Silent Revolution. 
second 1656 to 1658 of Open Rebellion. 
third f> 1659 to 1668 of Defensive and 

offensive wars. 
fourth ,, 1669 to 1674 of Conquests by the 

Uncrowned King. 
fifth ,. 1675 to 1680 of Conquest and 

Consolidation by the Crowned King*- 

15. A silent revolution which was afterwards to convulse all 
India, began unnoticed in the bosom of the Poona hills. The ideal 
of the Hindwi Swaraj was cherished by the young dreamer Shivrat 
who without shedding any blood captured the important forts of 
Torna, Rohida, Kondana, and Purandar. He succeeded in releasing 
his father Shahji by the display of valour and diplomacy, and then 
engaged himself in strengthening and training an invincible army. 
Thus the foundations of the Maratha kingdom were unostentatiously 
laid by Shivaji with remarkable diplomacy, intrepidity and 
versatility to avoid the wrath and vengeance of the Bijapur Sultafc. 

16. Open Rebellion While Muhammad Adii Shah was lying 
on his death-bed, and his armies and generals were engaged in the 
Karnatic expeditions, Shivaji undertook the conquest of Javli ia 
Jan. 1656. Within eight months he Was master of the whole 
mountainous territory from Mahableshwar to Mahad with tb* 
important forts of Javli Aid Rairi. No Bijapuri army helped the 
Mores or proceeded to punish Shivaji. After Muhammad's de&th 
the throne of Bijapur was occupied by Ali of obscure origin. The 
Moguls, -taking advantage of the new situation, declared war 
against him. Aurangzeb captured Bidar and Kaliani within a few 
months. The Sultan submitted to the inevitable and^madfcipeacfr 
with Shah Jahan in Aug. 1657. 

The illness of the Mogul Bifap^cir -radically .changed r tfa* 
situation in the Deccan. The Bijapuri army began to harass the* 



-the Moguls and refused to cede Parenda. The operations of war 

continued up to January 1658. Aurangzeb was busy in collecting 

troops for his march to the north; Shivaji saw an opportunity to 

conquer the whole mountainous territory from Poona to Thana. 

Kalyan-Bhiwandi, Lohgad, Rajmacbi and even Mahuli were 

-captured by the Maratha forces within three months without any 

opposition. The Bijapur king and the Moguls could do nothing to 

prevent the cession of such extensive territories containing important 

"towns and formidable forts. Here ends the second period of the 

political career of Shivaji. During these three years he succeeded 

in enlarging his jagir of Poona into a petty kingdom covering 

territory from Purandar and Mahableshwar to Supa, Chakan and 

thence to Kalyan, Tala, Ghosala and Mahad along the sea coast. 

Further south he got possession of Chaul and brought the Savants 

-of Wadi under his suzerainty. 

17. Defensive and offensive wars During the next period 
Tomantic successes shed glory upon Sbivaji and brought him an 
undying reputation. The murder of Afzal, the defeats of Rustam 
3aman and Fazal Khan, the marvellous escape from Panhala and 
the heroic defence of the pass of Kbelna, and the capture of several 
port towns in the Konkan compelled the Bijapur king to come to 
terms with the Maratha conqueror. The discomfiture of Shaista, 
the rape of Surat, and the retreat of the famous Rathore Raja 
jaswant from Kondana dealt mortal blows upon the prestige and 
power of the Mogul emperor. ShivajTs submission to Jaisingh by 
the cession of 23 forts, his introduction to Aurangzeb in the 
gorfrefeus Hall of Audience at Agra, his wonderful escape through 
the Muslim guards, his miraculous journey through the Mogul 
Empire to hi* capital Rajgad brought him into the lime-light of 
Indian histd&y. Aurangzeb again planned a new policy of 
-capturing Shivaji and his chief officers through conciliation and: 
frimdifcip. * He conferred the tide of Rrja upon him, granted the 
rank of 5,000 horse to bis son ^Sambhaji aad a jagir to meet its 
After tome time he ordered the detention erf the chief 
bat tfae^ too got ot of bis clutches* 


He 'advised his son Muazzam to feign rebellion and invfte Sblvajt 
to join him during his march to Agra, but the wary Maratha leader 
refused to personally meet th6 Prince, so that even this secret plot 
came to - nothing. Then the Great Mogul began his policy of 
persecuting the Hindus. Shivaji could not tolerate the treachery 
and religious intolerance of the ' Ornament of the Peacock Throne/ 
and therefore declared War upon him. Thus ended the third 
period during which a rebellious chieftain successfully measured 
swords with the powerful kingdom of Bijapur and the richest 
empire in Asia. 

During this period -Shivaji stood forth as the defender of the 
Hindu religion. He carried fire and sword into the Portuguese 
territory since they did not desist from proselytizing Hindus* He 
conquered and annexed the district of Bardes from the already 
shrivelled-up kingdom of Goa and enriched himself by an immense 
loot amounting to li crores of gold Hons. 

18. Conquest* by the uncrowned king The fourth period 
covers only six years, but it was full of wars against the Moguls* 
the Bijapuris and the Siddis. The Marathas captured all the 
forts which they had ceded to the Mogul in 1665. The capture of 
Sinhgad, Panhala and Purandar from the Mogul armies has 
produced thrilling romances of extraordinary interest. The 
consummate generals and veteran Mogul soldiers were defeated in 
pitched battles. They could not prevent the lightning raids of the 
Maratha horse, nor could they equal their guerilla tactics. Rich 
cities, like Surat, Chhapra, Karanja, Hubli and some Konkaa 
towns, were thoroughly sacked. During this period Shivaji was 
not fighting a defensive war, but led plundering and conquering 
Expeditions into the Mogul territory on one side and the Bijapur 
kingdom on the other. He emerged triumphant from these wars- 
apd felt justified in getting himself crowned with the consent of 
tbe nobility and the blessings of the Brahnaans of Maharashtra, 
; if* CM*** n* e***W*ie The cowttd >4&* 
4**feted himself mainly, t* : ttto, **e*oU4fttio&t ogwafittLt*a~ 
Urfofemof the Wag dom, ?:, Tfrt* hi* gtoia* *feotatil*' 


; which placed him in the nude of the greatest 
of ant*Fiity and modem times. The Bijapur kingdom was fern 
up by the factions of the Deccani and foreign nobility. SUv* 
immediately took advantage of this mortal weakness by conqofcriog 
the Kamatic and the south of India which formed part of the aid 
Vijayanagar Empire, but was now either under Bijapur or 
independent Hindu kings. Within the short period of less than 
two years he was master of the major part of die defunct 
Vijayanagar Empire. Thus his kingdom extended from the 
Western to the Eastern sea and from Nasik to Rameshwarau 
Contemporary writers being dazzled by these quick and easy 
conquests, compared him to Sertorius, Caesar, Hannf fe*!, Alexander, 
Adolphus. He could be favourably compared to Muhmudt Changiz, 
Timur, Babur and Napoleon. There was apt a single general, 
statesman, or diplomat equal to him either in the Bij^puri service 
or in the Mogul Empire of his time. He spent thirty-five years In 
desparately struggling against overwhelming odds, and finally 
succeeded in carving out a kingdom which has survived to this 
day in India. 

20. Now we can not be oblivious of the vital contribution made 
by the ertraerdittry psnenslity ef Shitaji to his success. The main 
factors have been explained by us in Chapter I. Summing up these 
in a passionate passage Justice Ranade rightly concluded that with 
the help of these wonderful qualities the Maratha too could 
immortalize his name in Indian history. " Religious fervour, 
almost at white heat, bordering on the verge of self-abnegation, 
a daring and adventurous spirit born of a confidence that a higher 
power than man's protected him and his work, the magnetism of 
superior genius, which binds men together and leads them to 
victory, a rare iasigist Into the real needs of the times, and a 
steadfastness of purpose, which no adverse turn of fortune cMM 
conquer, a readiness and resourcefulness rarely met with either 
ta European or Indian history, true patriotism, which wfcs far 
'ill advance of the times a*d a sense of justice tempered 
with meicyr these wfes* th* warces if the seeds of a power wtuch 

210 - SmvAji THE . GREAT 

accomplished in the hands of 'his successors all tnat He nad planned 
out,, and enabled his- race to write a chapter in Indian history to 
some purpose." 1 

Sir E. Sullivan has also laid great emphasis on the remarkable 
qualities of the hero. "Shivaji is certainly one of the greatest princes 
of Hindu history; he revived the ancient glory of a race, that 
centuries of subjection had tended to debase; and during the very 
height and power of the Mogul dynasty he founded and raised to 
empire the most powerful native kingdom yet seen in Hindusthan. 
He possessed every quality requisite for success in the disturbed 
age in which he lived.*' 

21. Shiva ji'f achievements These may be considered as the 
main causes of his success in founding the Maratha kingdom. We 
will now turn to summarize his memorable achievements which 
have already been sketched in detail in the previous parts. Here 
we will bring them to a focus to take a clear view of exhibiting 
the greatness of Shivaji. These were not mere emblems of his 
glory, but were directly or indirectly contributory to his success* 

(l) In his early career Shivaji had clearly realized that the 
revival of the Hindu religion against the onslaughts of Muslims 
would make the strongest appeal to the masses in Maharashtra* 
He soon succeeded in magnetizing the people with the crusading 
spirit, so that thousands flocked to his banners to avenge the 
oppressions of centuries. (2) He stood forth as the champion of 
the Hindu faith, and the protector of cows, Brahmans, and gods. 
Whenever his co-religionists were persecuted and oppressed by 
the Moguls, the Siddis, or the Portuguese, he declared war upon 
them and carried fire and sword into their territories to wreak 
vengeance for their repressive acts. Thereby all Muslim and 
Christain powers were effectively restrained in their persecuting 
and proselytizing zeal. Moreover, he not only checked the 
outflow from Hinduism, but brought back the apostafcs into the 
Hindu fotd through Shuddhi or reclamation. He patronized 
thousands of Brahmans, scholars, educational institutions, and 
. I. Kade,Ri^ erf the Mba Powr, pp. 57-38. 


monasteries. Thus learning and literature were encouriged ill 
various ways. Protection, propagation and unification of the Hindu 
religion in Maharashtra were due to him. He and his successors 
stemmed the tide of conversion and persecution by Aurangzeb by 
keeping him and his armies engaged in the south from the year of 
his accession to the day of his death. (3) His mystic trances, his 
deep reverence for saints, his liberal donations, his pilgrimages, his 
religious fervour in private devotions and public ceremonies made 
him dear to the people. They looked upon him as an incarnation 
of God born to liberate them from the foreign yoke. ' Such a 
belief was the chief source of his strength and his hold on the 
people, and it represented a strength which no prudent calculation 
of chances could ever confer.' l 

The confirmatory evidence of Elphinstone is worth reading. 
" It required a genius like his to avail himself as he did of the 
mistakes of Aurangzeb, by kindling a zeal for religion, and through 
that, a national spirit among the Marathas. It was by these feelings 
that his government was upheld after it had passed into feeble 
bands, and was kept together, in spite of numerous internal 
disorders, until it had established its supremacy over the greater 
part of India." 

Owen has very aptly expressed the same fact. " A halo of 
heroism, patriotism, and religious zeal invested their proceedings, 
and induced them to regard the son of Shahaji as a predestined, 
divinely favoured, indeed as an inspired deliverer. On the whole, 
both Shivaji and his original followers might well hold, and did 
hold, that in waging war after their own fashion with the 
Mussalmans they were doing both God and man good service, 
covering themselves with glory, and gaining not only welcome, 
but creditably retributive spoils/' 9 

(4) In spite of his intense love for Hinduism, he followed the 
noble policy of toleration in an age wheja it was being trample^ 
mnder foot by Muslim rulers and by European' rnonarchs. " He 

1. Rise of the M. Fower, p. 53. 

2. India on the Ere of British Cdoqant, 5. J.Owen, pp; 129-30. 


corned to retaliate on the Muslims the cruel persecution which 
they had inflicted on the followers of his faith." * Consequently^ 
be stands out as one of the greatest nation-builders. 

(5) tie was the destroyer of the feudal system and the 
founder of the national state. He consolidated the kingdom by 
putting down the feudal nobles by partially depriving them of 
their powers arid incomes, and by razing down their castles. 

(6) He was the creator of an invincible national army, and 
the father of the Maratha navy. He encouraged maritime commerce 
by various means. 

(7) He reformed the administrative system by creating a 
cabinet and allotting various departments to the eight ministers. 
His administrative, financial, revenue, military reforms place him 
in the rank of the greatest statesmen. He quickened the pace 
of the reformation and renaissance through his inspiration and 
generous patronage. 

(8) His foreign policy compels admiration, (a) He maintained 
friendly relations with the European nations for the defence of his 
navy and* merchant-shipping, for the protection of his coast, for 
encouraging maritime trade, and for obtaining war-materials* 
(V He was extremely far-sighted in his policy towards the two 
Muslim states of the Deccan. He protected them from the inroads 
of the Mogul by invading the imperial territory, and often rendered 
military Assistance to the Deccan rulers whenever they were 
threatened by the Moguls. Thus the latter were unable to conquer 
either the Muslim suites or the newly created Maratha kingdom on 
account of fab military power, foresight and diplomacy. 

(9) He was the introducer 6f die Chauth system which latsr 
oa became so universal as an indication of Maratha supremacy. 
This blackmail collected by the Maratha officers and troops from 
fi* people it die point erf the luce established an imfrrium in 
**<t*rio& Ae Mogul provinces. Thepeople were 



they Kved in constant lear of destruction of their crops and 
devastation of their towns and villages by the Maratha looters. 
Thus this system struck a mortal blow at the allegiance of the 
Mogul subjects and the integrity of the empire. 

(10) Shivaji was highly religious, devotional to the point of 
renunciation, stoically simple, reverential to Brahmans, saints and 

- scholars. He was free from all the vices of wealth and power. 
He was a most devoted son, a loving husband, a compassionate 
iather and a benevolent brother. He was not only chivalrous to 
women, but championed their honour throughout his life. In 
short, his piety, benevolence and wisdom captivated the hearts 
Of all. Mr. Kincaid has emphasized the nobility of his personal 
-character as the main cause of his signal success. 

"Such was the "Liberator" of the Maratha nation a man of 
talents so varied, of life so regular, of disposition so tolerant, that 
it is little wonder that his countrymen came to regard him not as 
one of themselves but as the incarnation of God. His kingdom has 
long passed away; but the Maratha people still worship his image 
at Rajgad and Malwan; just as the Athenians, long after their 
empire had ceased to exist, continued to worship with pathetic 
devotion the memory of Theseus." 1 

(11) He had a charming personality which compelled admira- 
tion and devotion of all those who came into his magnetic circle, 
so that they were ever ready to sacrifice their lives for him and his 
-sacred cause. The magic of his personality is excellently proved 
by the fact that not a single officer or general betrayed him. 
His men could not be corrupted by the wily Aurangzeb, while the 
Maratha hero was constantly corrupting the Mogul generals. Even 
when Shivaji and his son .were prisoners at Agra or when he was 
absent for more than a year in the Karnatic, there was not a single 
person who turned traitor to the country. 

XU) He so consolidated the kingdom and intend aacfaan 
ftcy spirit moat Jua officials that even altar Us death. 

214 SffivAji TriE GREAT 

they could successfully defy the monstrous efforts Of Aurangzeb, the- 
-greatest monarch of his time on earth, during the twenty years' war 
of liberation. He awakened such a patriotic spirit and created such 
a deep sense of splendid unity among the people that with leonine- 
courage and grim determination they took up the great challenge to 
their independence, a challenge embodied in the ghastly tangible 
reality of the vast Mogul armies, continuously pouring into 
Maharashtra for twenty years, and fighting under the personal 
guidance of the mighty Emperor himself. Hundreds of consummate- 
commanders, brilliant statesmen, master politicians, undaunted 
soldiers trained in the school of Shivaji foiled all the Herculean 
efforts of the Great Mogul by such deeds of heroism, sacrifice, 
loyalty, political sagacity, patriotism as are scarcely equalled in 
the annals of the world. They emerged triumphant from this 
titanic struggle, and shook the majestic fabric of the extensive 
empire of the Great Mogul to its very foundations. 

(13) His greatness lies in creating a new Hindu kingdom 
against innumerable odds. From the fall of the Yadavas of 
Devagiri, the Hindus of Maharashtra had been .under Muslim^ 
domination for three hundred years. The foreign rule became 
more and more deeply rooted, and threatened to swallow the whole 
of the Southern Peninsula by the disintegration of the Hindu 
Empire of Vijayanagar. The Hindus of the Deccan made no 
efforts for three centuries to throw off the Muslim yoke. In 
Northern India several Hindu kingdoms survived in Rajputana 
but all of them had become vassals of the Delhi Empire. Even, 
the Solar Dynasty of Udaipur bowed to the inevitable and 
accepted the suzerainty of the Great Mogul. The large ^resources 
of Jodhpur, Jaipur and many other Rajput states were utilized in 
subjugating the Deccan, in destroying Shivaji, and in swallowing 
the Muslim states. Thus the Maratha rebel predecessor to 
show him an example of an independent kingdom, nor had he any 
assistance from the Hindu rulers of the day. 'On the cbiittrary, 
every important Hindu ruler of southern and northern India 
allied with his enemies to cgosh him. Undetf swcH ; 


the creation of Hindu Swaraj appeared to be an extraordinary feat 
-of a superhuman genius. " His native genius, alone and unaided, 
enabled him to found a compact kingdom, an invincible army, and 
a grand and beneficent system of administration." ' The Hindus 
naturally looked upon this founder of the Maratha empire, the 
restorer of their religion, the defender of their ancient culture as a 
superman, or an incarnation of God. 

Many heroes are deified and paid divine honours after their 
death, but here was a man who in his lifetime was looked upon by 
his people as God incarnate. The Sabhasad Chronicle, written 
-only ten years after his death, may be considered to be contemporary. 
The evidence of Tukaram and Ramdas is concerned with the 
threshold of his career. The saints propagated this belief among 
the masses to help the national movement of Swaraj and 
Swadharma. No one can doubt the crucial importance of the 
saintly assertions to deify Shivaji in his early career. The young 
rebel must have captured the imagination of the saints and the 
masses with his noble ideals of freeing Maharashtra from the 
foreign yoke and of relieving the Hindu religion from Muslim 

Shivaji, the liberator of Maharashtra from the Muslim rule, 
the deliverer of the Hindus from the oppressions of their rulers, 
the saviour of the Hindu religion, the apostle of religious freedom, 
the founder of the Maratha kingdom, the successor of the 
Vijayanagar Emperors, the father of the Maratha navy, the creator 
-of reformation in the Deccan, has rightly been the idol of every 
Hindu home. This political prophet, this grand rebel against 
Mogul domination, this lion of Maharashtra, this creator of Indian 
nationalism, this pole-star of India's freedom will for ever remain a 
source of inspiration to all. Such a remarkable personality does not 
belong to any one nation and time. He occupies a high place in 
the galaxy of the great conquerors of the world, of remarkable 
nation-builders, of the greatest patriots, and of the immortal fighters 
lor the independence of their mother-lands. 
1. Sartor, Shivaji, p. 405, 


Afzal Khan, evidence of Khan's 
treachery 34, anxiety for inter- 
view 35, first to strike the 
blow 11,37; conclusion 31,39, 
Agra, 7,17,23,53,85,208,213. 
Akbar, 4,30,70,155. 
Alexander, 4,11,19,204. 
Altekar, Prof. A. S., 157. 
Altekar, S. K., 186, 190-4. 
Alutas, 141. 

Anand Rao, N., 44, 50, 52. 
Annaji Datto, 44, 48, 50, 54, 74, 

108,109, 112. 

Aurangzeb, 4, 5, 8, 24, 30, 40, 49, 
74,85,96, 101, 111, 127-132, 
Bahadur Khan, 9, 49, 61, 70, 


Bafalol Khan, 33, 61. 
Bajaji Nirabalkar, 178. 
Baji Ghorpade, 30, 124. 
Baji Prabhu, 47, 49. 
Balaji Avaji, 7 f 47, 57. 
Balutas, their names and duties, 

140, 148. 
Barcelore, 5. 
Bbab, B. W. t 173. 
Bhate, G. C., 187. 
Bhushan, poet, 169, 173, 192. 
Bijapur kingdom, 33, 46, 67, 69, 

Chafal, 6, 47. 

Chaogez Khan and Shivaji, 20. 

Chartered towns, 162. 

Cbauth, system of, 19; origin, 
127; nature, 127; wrong no- 
tions, 130; economic collapse of 
the Mogul Empire, 132, 212. 
Chiplun, 6. 

Civil administration, extent of 
Shivaji's Empire 40; admini- 
strative divisions,41; civil divi- 
sions, 42; civil officers, 44; 
Dr. Fryer on Maratha admin- 
istration, 45; administrative 
reforms, 47; no new Inams, 
48; growth of the executive 
council, 51; duties of the 
ministers, 54; principles under- 
lying ministerial government, 
55; salaries of ministers, 57 ; 
personal staff of the king, 
57; minor departments, 58; 
comparison of the Astha Pra- 
dhans to the Executive coun- 
cil, 59. 

Civil districts, 42-43. 
Courts, Kings' Court, 156; Pan- 
chayats, 158; Deshak Sabha, 
160; Raj Sabha, 161; Chief 
Court and Court of Panditro f 

Daulat Khan, 93, 94, 177, 
Deccan, 199. 

Deming, Rev., 190, 195-6. 
Dhanaji Jadhav, 25. 
Dnyandeva, 182, 185, 197. 



Duff, Grant, 83, 119, 136, 141, 
175, 199. 

Ekanatba, his work and disciples, 

Elphrnatone, M., 20, 21, 130. 

European envoys, L 

Financial system, three settle- 
meats, 108; method of survey, 
109; measuring rod for survey, 
409; Rayatwari system, 110; 
classification of lands, 110; 
basis of assessment, 110; farm- 
ing system, 112; agrarian re- 
forms, 116; sources of public 
revenue, 119; chauth, 127; 
Sardeshmukhi, 132; supple- 
mentary sources, 136. 

Forts, names of, 79; number of, 
79; fortification and repairs, 
.81; internal organization, 82; 
pay of officers, 83; guards 
for outskirts, 84; inspection 
of,- 85; vestiges of 86; 
architecture, 88. 

Gagabhat, 161, 193. . 

Goftwfa, 5. 

Goicdoda, kingdom, 41, 113, 155, 


GtWWla tactics, 79, 201, 203. 
Ibrahim Khan, 75, 177/ 
Jagannattiphri, 6. 
Jahangir, 4. 

JaistngtyZ, 7, 9, 27, 33, 105, 128. 
Janjira, 90, 94, 99, 103, 176. 
Jaswant Singh Rather, 10, 49. 
Javli, 8, 30, 36. 

Jinji, 82, 86-87. 

Kalyan, 4. 

Khanderi, 90, 99, 102. 

Kolhapur, 13,87, 129, 133, 160, 

Konddeva, 51, 108, 159, J69. 

Loot of cities, 16, 73, 124, 208. 

Mahmud and Shivaji, 19. 

Maloji Ghorpade, 29. 

Malik Ambar, 108-109. 

Maratha, Administration, 45. 

Matimant, M., 52. 

Mauni Baba, 6, 116, 192. 

Military system, evils of Muslim 
military system, 57; royal body 
guards, 63; state cavalry, 65; 
training of cavalry ,66; infantry, 
66; strength of arnay ,66; excell- 
ence of cavalry, 69; training 
of army, 71; army regulations 
72; spies and scouts,? 3; rewards 
for military service, 74; feudal 
forces, 75; armstmd weapons, 
76; camel corps and elephant 
corps, 76; military reforms, 77; 
forts, Maratha navy and artil- 
lery (See Index Navy), types of 
ships 91; small craft 93; orga- 
nization of the marine 93; naval 
strength 95; fleet of Shivaji, 
97; Shivaji's naval exploits* 
98; naval achievements 101; 
artillery, supply, 103; "ordi- 
nance manufactured in &UUe 
factories, 105. 

Monetary policy, Laissez-Faire 
policy 1461 Shivaji mmtsr 



moat? 146; variety of coins 

149?* Hons, their names, and 

prices 148; silver coins 151; 

copper coins 152; Bombay 

mint 154; hoarded treasures of 

Shivaji 155. 
Mores of Javli, 8. 
Moropant Peshwa, 44, 49. 50, 52, 

54, 68, 75, 86, 108, 129. 
Muazzam, 11, 49. 
Muttra, 6. 

Nadir Shah and Shivaji, 21. 
Namadeva, 182, 197. 
Napoleon, 4 f 12, 13, 30. 
Netf ji Palkar, 48, 51, 56, 67, 178. 
Ordeals 164 168. 
Orme, R., 2, 12,13,91. 
Panhala, 13, 42, 68, 79, 85, 87, 

103, 208. 
Parli, 47. 

Parmanand, poet, 193. 
Parmanand, saint, 28. 
Patgaon, 6. 
Pjr Muhammad, 2. 
Pratapgarh, 6. 
Qutub Shah, 9, 29, 64. 
Rai Bagjn, 5. 
Raigad, 6, 67. 
Rajaram, 24, 50. 
Ramchandra Pant Amatya, 42, 

47,48, 54,63,83,89, 98, 112, 


Ftfmdas, on Shivaji, 14, 169,171, 
180, 215; his life, 188; his 
work, 189; his male disciples,. 
190; female disciples, 191; re- 
lation to Shivaji, 195. 

Ranade, Justice, 41, 56, 59, 130*? 
184, 196, 199, 209, 211. 

Ranade, Prof. R. D., 183, 

Reformation, spread of mysti- 
cism, 182, religious persecur 
tion, 182; political conditions, 
183; renaissance, 183; Eka r 
natha, 185;Tukaram, 186-188; 
naked Messiah, 188-191;women 
saints, 191, Muslim saints, 191; 
contribution of saints to Swaraj, 
195; reformation begun in the 
17th century, 196, 197, 198. 

Rustam, Zaman, 49, 61. 

Saints and scholars of Maharash- 
tra, 182-183, their contribution 
to Swaraj, 195. 

Muslim, 191. 

Women, 191. 

Sambhaji, 4, 24,^83. 

Santaji Ghorpade, 25, 47. 

Sardeshmukhi, hereditary office, 
1 32; Sardeshmukhs in Mahara- 
shtra, 133; a cess, 135; conclu- 
sion, 136. 

Sarkar, Sir Jadunath, 15, 31, 
175, 215. 

Sawants, 75, 133. 

Sawantwadi, 105. 

Scott, J., 8, 12. 

Sen, S. N., 2, 54, 58, 102, 131, 
137, 142, 165. 

Shah Jahan, 4, 81, 107, 155, 159, 
183, 206, 211. 

Sttahji, 13, 26 r 27, 32, 101, 103. 
Shah*, 40, 130. 


ShAtsta Khan, 7, 9. 
Shivaji, European envoys 1; per* 
anal description 1; portraits 
% simplicity 3; freedom from 
drinks 4; respect for women 4; 
religious devotion 5; a mystic 
6; a fatalist 7; a diptafhat 8; a 
statesman 10*; a commander 
20; Sh. and Napoleon 12; re- 
sourcefulness 13; character 14; 
Lion of Maharashtra 14. 
a robber ? 15;European view IS; 
criticism 15-19; Sh. and Mah- 
mud 19; Shivaji and Changes 
Kfeaa 20; Shivaji and Timur, 
20; Shivaji and Nadir Shah 21. 
a Hb*rmtor,23; misconception of 
European settlers 23; fear of 
Marathas 25; ideal of Indian 
Independence 25. 
a prince of perfidy ? 30 ; Afzal 

t, 54; 59. 
a man of forts 79;naval exploits 
98; naval achievements 10i; 
causes of success given by 
Raoade 199; other causes 201; 
guerilla tactics 203; not le*s 
than Alexander or Hannibal 
204; iMMfar body 204; survey 
of con^uesw ,206; extraordinary 
his achieve- 

civil administration, military 
system.finaocial system, roooe* 
tary policy, 
( See sep )f. 
renaissance and 
182-192; contact with 
192 supplied the urge 'to 
reformation 194. 
Shivarai Hons, 149. 
Shivneri, 87. 
Shri Shaila, 5-7. 
Shuddhi or reclamation, 178. 
Siddi Jauhar, 30, 49, 67. 
Sindhudurg, 47, 82-83; 88, 100, 


Supplementary sources, Abwabs, 
136; imperial income, 137; 
town levies, 138; rural cesses, 

Surat, 13. 

Timur and Shivaji, 20, 
Tukaram, 5; on Shiva, 171, 215, 
his work and his disciples* 
186; his contemporaries, 187. 
Vaidya, C. V., 133. 
Vijayanagar, 9, 27, 107, 137, 

146, 148, 209, 214. 
Vyankoji, 47, 53, 107.^ 

Wakaskar, 28, 47, 71, 81. 
Waring, Scott, 8. 
Watans, 114.